Fair or unfair, there are some people out there who are blaming Adam James for the firing of Texas Tech coach Mike Leach.
The backup redshirt sophomore inside receiver is the player who told his parents Leach mistreated him after he suffered a mild concussion on Dec. 16. Tech administrators received a complaint about it from James' parents, did some investigation, talked to some folks, and then suspended and subsequently fired Leach.
As Tech prepares to play Michigan State at 8 Saturday night in the Alamo Bowl, can Adam James realistically expect to be a member of the Red Raiders after this season?
"We’ll revisit that,'' inside receivers coach Lincoln Riley said. "He’s not going to play this week because of the injury.''
But will James be back with the Raiders next season?
"I don’t know,'' Riley said. "That’ll be up to him and his family (if he returns next year).
"If it’s best for us and best for Tech for him to be back, then he will be, and if it's not, then he won’t be. I can’t be thinking about that right now. I’ve got to be thinking about
James was certainly in Riley's thoughts a few days ago when the assistant coach sent an e-mail to Tech officials. The e-mail, obtained by the Star-Telegram, is as follow:
"During the last two years of being the inside receivers coach, I have had the chance to learn alot about Adam James. He came to Tech because of one person: Coach Leach. Although we adamently doubted
his talent, we as coaches came to see that Adam actually had enough talent to help us out. The problem, though, is that Adam is unusually lazy and entitled. Many other players on this team, specifically receivers, have a much larger role on this team with less talent. I have always been worried about Adam's effect on my other players because of his weak and conceited attitude. I recently found out that Adam deliberately undermined my authority on many occasions. This is particularly disturbing because Coach Leach hired me to make our receivers the best group in the country, and Adam has damaged this
group far more than I even realized. He should be grateful for the opportunity that was given to him here that was not offered at any other Division 1 football program. He has an unbelievable sense of
entitlement because of who his father is; one that hurts himself and people around him. Adam is the kind of person that makes excuses or blames people for things that go wrong in his life. Furthermore, I don't have children yet, but when I do I hope they are coached by someone like Coach Leach. I have learned so many great things from him and am incredibly lucky to have him in my life.''
Asked on Thursday about those rather scathing comments about Adam James, Riley said: "I’m not going to comment about that. I sent my feelings in on December 26 when they were having the meeting with Mike. I’ve got to worry about
Riley, though, did have a sort of clear-the-air talk this week with James, whose parents have had some threathening statements directed at them over the Internet that have required police protection around their home in Celina.
"I told him I know we're on different sides of the fence on this deal, but he’s still my player,'' Riley said. "All the threats on him and his family are completely ridiculous, and I told him if he needs help as far as feeling in danger I’ll help him out any way I can.''
Asked if he thought James had some character issues, Riley said: "We've all got character issues. There's always some things we can work on. I address every part of it with every player, not just him.''
Riley believes he can let by-gones be by-gones and help James become a productive player. And what will Riley work with James on in the future?
"Just things that I’d share with him about how he can become a better player, and I usually try to keep that between me and the player,'' he said. "Just things on the field that he can work on to get better.''
Part of that work may be to help James get rid of that sense of entitlement, if indeed James does feel he's entitled to a few special things just because his dad is a former SMU and NFL player who works for ESPN.
"People make mistakes. That’s part of it. You’ve got to learn from it and move on.''
The question now is, will Adam James be moving on from Texas Tech?
_ Dwain Price
_ Dwain Price