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Mangino says Leach critics 'too uptight'

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach raised a few hackles the last several days when he blamed his players' "fat little girlfriends" for unwanted praise before their blowout home loss to Texas A&M last week.

Kansas coach Mark Mangino, who coached with Leach on Bob Stoops' first coaching staff at Oklahoma in 1999, defended his old coaching friend from what he termed the forces of political correctness.

"I don't want to get into all of that. There's pretty girls everywhere," Mangino said. "Tech's got their share, and KU has their share. We're partial. We think KU has the best. I think you can have fun with it. That's what Mike's trying to do. He's trying to have fun with it.

"We're really uptight in society. We're really politically correct. I love watching Joe Paterno's press conferences. We watch them on tape all the time. I think they're the best. He is the king of college football. He can say anything he wants, and I love it. He's earned the right to do that. I sit there and I say, 'Jeez, if I said something like that, I'd have to apologize.'"

Mangino said that Leach's place is welcome in college football because he unabashedly speaks his mind on virtually every subject. And he said his critics need to lighten up.

"We need a little bit of that. We're too uptight in this society," Mangino said. "We need to loosen up and have some fun and not everybody take everything so literally. I don't want to get into the girls. We'll leave that to Mike. I'll focus on football. I've got my hands full doing that."