An In-Depth Video Analysis of Mike Leach’s Mesh Concept

Researchers Note: X&O Labs was granted exclusive access to Mike Leach. We conducted three in-depth interviews with Coach Leach over a two week period in 2011.  The following report is part three of our three-part series that is featured exclusively on www.XandOLabs.com

In the final installment our interview series with former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach, Leach was gracious enough to share


Leach has tinkered with the Mesh concept since his days as the offensive coordinator at the University of Kentucky for legendary offensive guru Hal Mumme and he continued to developed it into an important part of his offense during his days at Tech.  Although he admits to us now it’s not his favorite route concept (most would argue his four vertical concept claims that distinction).  The Mesh concept has been his "old faithful" throughout his tenure as a coordinator, and one that has produced a ton of yardage for his offense.

Commonly referred to as a crossing route, the Mesh concept is a high-maintenance play according to Leach.  Like most five-step pass concepts, timing is the key to its effectiveness, it’s something that must be honed daily in practice.  We decided to profile it because of its simplicity, which is pure Leach.

And its simplicity is two-fold:

  1. It gives the quarterback a read directly in front of his face (a blitz beater by nature).
  2. Its short pass provides a potential long when in the hands of receivers that can run.

In the video below, X&O Labs’ Senior Research Manager, Mike Kuchar, details the 92 Mesh concept, from Leach’s philosophy of the play, to his route structure through his QB reads.  Again, we realize that this scheme can be run in various ways, this is strictly Leach’s way, and the way that has won him countless games through his tenure.


Now that we’ve gone through the general concept of the play, it’s time to study some video on the 92 Mesh concept.  As you’ll see in this next video, Leach took advantage of the defense’s two-deep, and two-deep man under coverage by running the scheme seven total times.  Leach runs the concept out of 2x2 balanced and 3x1 trips formations.  According to Leach, he likes the scheme more out of trips because "defensive coordinators hate 3x1 more than any other formation; it makes them uncomfortable."  As you watch below, witness the many variations that Leach will use to exploit coverages.  Its vintage Leach: analyze and dissect.


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CORRECTION: At the :56 second mark in the video below we state that the MLB vacates on the blitz. This statement is wrong. The MLB drops and settles about 8 yards inside of the hash. 

The beauty of the Mesh concept is that it’s easy to install and simple to adjust.  You can simply tag any of your receivers to run the mesh route and you can vary the routes on the perimeter as Leach has detailed.  But, like anything else, the route must be rep’ed daily to get the timing down.  One of the perks of the scheme is that it is good against pressure, but the QB must be drilled in getting the ball out on time and letting receivers run in space.

As with all of these video tutorials, our goal is to educated our readers and provide a consistent platform for coaches to share ideas.  We’re hoping you enjoyed X&O Labs’ series with Mike Leach, one of the more prolific offensive minds in the game.

Here's links to all our Mike Leach interview series:

Interview #1: Mike Leach's Offense: Perception Vs. Reality

Interview #2: Mike Leach: Training the QB

Interview #3Mike Leach's Mesh Concept: a Video Analysis


Questions or Comments?
If you have a question or comment, please post it in the "Comments" section below and Mike Kuchar will respond shortly.


Comments (24)
  • Pete

    The first play on the video is not the basic mash concept, its the shallow concept.

  • Wyatt Rogers

    Thank you for your great work on Coach Leach. Great series. Very informative

  • Mike Kuchar

    Appreciate it, Coach...Stay in touch.

  • Nate

    Thanks for the writeup coach. Just a small note as I saw someone else mention, the first clip in that last video looks to be Y Shallow, not Mesh. They can look similar at first glance, but that is why the crossing receivers are further apart than on mesh - the Y is running a "shallow cross" and the H is running a dig. I love your articles, and keep up the great work Coach! Very informative.

  • Carl

    Hey Coach some of that looks more like shallow. Does Coach Leach consider mesh and shallow to be in the same concept family?

  • Mike Kuchar

    You're abolutely correct. In fact, Coach detailed the drill he uses to showcase the Y shallow in our last installment with him. Thanks for reading.

  • Carl

    I really love the site and the depth of it all. I run these concepts and many of their variations as well. But this indepth look has really intrigued me to look at some more concepts off it. Thanks Coach Kuchar, I look forward to more of your stuff!

  • Mike Kuchar

    Thanks, Carl

  • Greg Lewis

    Thank you so much for bringing Coach Leach into our homes. And thank you for all of your hard work and dedication Coach Kuchar.

  • Mike Kuchar

    Thanks for reading, Greg.

  • Jon Klyne

    Great series coach. I have a question though, could you possibly make those cut-ups of the Mesh available? Also, where would you find game film like that if you wanted to do your own research?

  • David Yarborough

    There are multiple example of these plays on youtube. There is one series of offenise cutups - called Texas Tech Offenive Power Points and there are separage youtube listing on things like Mesh progression and the Y Stick.

  • Coach Madden


    have tried many times to get the mesh concept going, but so far i have not been able to get it going. Seems to me that on the high school level the inside lbers do not drop as well as on the higher level..any thoughts/

  • John Butler

    Please diagram or explain the routes of the 92 Mesh Pass. Thank you.

  • Mike Kuchar

    Hi John,
    You can find all of the diagrammed routes/explanations on the power point in the first clip. Hope that helps you. Thanks for reading.


  • John

    Thanks Mike! I found them after I sent an email.

  • John Butler

    Please give the QB reads on the 92 Mesh variations, both 2 X 2 & 3 X 1 sets.

  • GW Gregory

    Great interview. I loved it. Could you elaborate on his pre-snap leverage reads. What leverage is he looking for in the CB's and Safeties?

  • Mike Kuchar

    I'll try and look through my notes, but I don't want to paraphrase what Coach was saying. He didn't get into too much detail on this aspect.

  • Mesh Concept Part 1

    [...] He recently released a series that he did with Mike Leach discussing, among other things, his famed mesh concept. [...]

  • Mesh Concept Part 2

    [...] He recently released a series that he did with Mike Leach discussing, among other things, his famed mesh concept. [...]

  • Jeremy West

    The first clip is Z Shallow, Y is running a post, the H or inside rec on left runs a 10 yd dig or square in, that's why he's so deep. The shallow runners path is through the heels of the D line.

    @GW The QB is looking presnap at any space the defense is giving them and will try to exploit it if he likes it on any high route (go, post, corner) on mesh or shallow concepts. He gives the QB lots of freedom there, usually supplemented by personnel match ups and week to week opponent game planning.

  • kevin

    What does the 92 of the 92 mesh refer to? Protection?

  • Jeremy West

    The 90s designate the old 5 step drop (3 step in gun) series in Coach Mumme's offense. 90 is shallow concept, 91 is a high/low-smash concept, 92 is the mesh concept, etc...The o-line all vertical set in this offense with the 90 set being deeper than the 60 set (quick game).

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