Leach facing huge rebuilding job

February, 19, 2009
2/19/09
11:04
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

So much for the struggles of negotiating a new contract.

Now comes the hard part for Texas Tech coach Mike Leach.

Armed with a new agreement with the school, Leach will be overseeing one of the nation's biggest rebuilding jobs when spring practice starts for the Red Raiders on March 25.

 
  AP Photo/Mike Stone
  Mike Leach has his work cut out for him heading into the 2009 season.

All he has to do is find a replacement for quarterback Graham Harrell, the career FBS leader in touchdown passes, and two-time Biletnikoff Award winner Michael Crabtree. Arguably, they might be the two most enduring symbols of Leach's success at Tech.

Backup Taylor Potts will take over at quarterback after throwing just 85 passes in his career.

Another big chore will be rebuilding confidence for a defense that allowed an average of 46.7 points and 486.7 yards in its final three games last season.

It will be difficult for Texas Tech to duplicate last season's success when the Red Raiders claimed a share of the school's first Big 12 South Division title and matched the school record with 11 victories.

Leach relishes the challenge of keeping the Red Raiders competitive with Texas and Oklahoma, as well as a resurgent Oklahoma State team in what should be another challenging race to the division championship.

"I'm thrilled about this season. We've got a group that not all these [are star players]," Leach said. "They are all highly motivated and are working really hard. Every time you check on them, everybody is doing everything right. I can't wait until the spring."

That 2008 success should only help the Red Raiders continuing building, Leach said.

"One positive byproduct is that a lot of people are excited about Texas Tech," Leach said. "We had a great year last season and I think we'll have a better one next season."

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