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:
- It gives the quarterback a read directly in front of his face (a blitz beater by nature).
- 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 #3: Mike Leach's Mesh Concept: a Video Analysis
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 #3: Mike Leach's Mesh Concept: a Video Analysis