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First Tommy Tuberville Press Conference :: "I'm excited for the opportunity."

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Important Links

There's a ton of articles and links to get to this morning and I'll try to get to as many as possible this morning, here are some of the more important links: press conference transcript; complete video in two parts; and WWL video.

I should also mention that Tuberville will be on ESPN's First Take this morning at 10:00 a.m. CST.

Selling the Program

This hasn't occurred to me until this morning, but the one thing that Leach did when he was here, and was able to lure recruits to Lubbock, was talk about how the system could make that player a star.  Tuberville seemed to make it very clear that he wants to keep the offense, and when asked about what type of offense he liked, he said this:

The thing that's given me problems over the years of defending is multiple offenses, sets, motions out of the backfield, motions from wide receivers, different personnel.  Fast-paced offense.  I can't really tell you at the moment what we'll look at in terms of changing.  But, again, it will be very subtle in what we do.

I can live with that.

But the thing that crept in my mind this morning was that Leach & McNeill had to sell the defense based on McNeill's personality not on what's been produced on the field.  Tuberville can immediately come in and tell any and all recruits that he has a proven defense that works and makes stars out of players.  We've only been able to say that about one side of the ball for Leach's tenure.  And that's not a knock on Leach, it's tough to focus on one side or another when building a program from the ground up, but Tuberville has the advantage of having everything that Leach put in place.

In other words, if Tuberville keeps the offense relatively similar and brings in his attacking style of defense, which will feature three-man fronts 70% of the time, then that's something that can entice a recruit to make a commitment to Texas Tech. 

Here's Tuberville on his defense:

Here you've been based on a four-man front.  And I coached four-man front for 15, 16  years.  I thought there was nothing else.  Then everything he involves.  And probably over the last seven or eight years we've based out of a three-man front with four linebackers.  

And we did that because of adjustments.  When everybody was playing two backs and throwing it 15 times a game, a four-man front was pretty good.  Gave you an opportunity to get lined up, not real complicated.  Then when everybody started spreading it out, it makes it easier to play nickel and dime defenses out of a three-man front.  Replace a linebacker or two linebackers with two corners that can cover all these wide receivers that teams are putting on the field. 

So I like the three-man front.  Now probably about 30%, 40% of the time you'll see us in a four-man front.  You have to be multiple.  But we'll be aggressive.  We'll attack the line of scrimmage.  You'll see blitzing.  You'll see zone blitzing. 

It's hard to zone blitz out of a four-man front.  But, again, we'll have to evaluate how much of the three-man front we'll put in depending on the personnel.

I mean, we're not going to force anything.  We're going to look at the personnel.  And the big thing about playing the style of defense that I like to play now, you have to have great corners.  Not in terms of speed and athletic ability, but be able to learn what's going on, because there are techniques and fundamentals that they have to do, playing inside receivers, outside receiver, so they have to pick up quickly.

Again, it's about selling to these young men that play defense that they they can be superstars as well and Texas Tech hasn't been able to say that in a really long time.

Team Meeting

Tuberville mentioned that he's scheduled to go to Orlando this morning for a coaches conference and then he'll be back in Lubbock for a team meeting on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. 

We'll have our first team meeting at 4:00 o'clock on Wednesday.  I'll introduce myself to them.  They don't know me from Adam.  But I want to let them know that I'm here for them.   I'm not here to win football games, per se.  I'm not here to get them a degree, per se. 

My job, I'm a teacher.  And the one thing that I want them to learn and understand and the parents when I recruit these kids to come to Texas Tech University, is that when  they leave here, they're a better person.  You know, that means more than education, that means more than football.  

They understand the difference between right and wrong. They understand work ethic, attitude, and how to maintain a steady life in the future to get the most out of life.  Because what these kids are facing in this generation is going to be tougher than what most of us had.

The Recruits

Tuberville is making an effort to immediately connect with the current group of commitments and he apparently made calls immediately:

I guess about six-and-a-half hours later I was here in town, on the phone with almost -- not all -- but all the players that I could visit with on the phone about their commitment to Texas Tech or their looking at Texas Tech with some possibilities of going on other places.  

The reception was great.  I don't have a big ego.  But the great thing about myself over the years, I have done what Texas Tech has done with an offense, I've created a name. 

Most players know who I am because I have been on TV a little bit, been National Coach of the Year, done a few things, and that helps.  You know, when you're in recruiting, it helps to be able to sell your offense, sell your defense, but also sell the name of the university and the coach that's selling all that.  

So it went very well last night on the phone.  I'll make more phone calls today.  It was a great response. 

Nobody said, coach, I've decided to change my commitment.  It was very, very positive.  Again, we've still got a lot of work to do over the next few weeks.

Lots of linked articles after the jump.

Press Row

LAJ's Don Williams:

"You’ll never hear me say, ‘This is my team,’ or anything like that,’’ he said. "This is Texas Tech fans’, alumni, students’ and faculty’s team. I’m here, responsible to make sure it grows and gets better.’’

Tuberville said he’ll also try to make it an ex-players’ team. That might stem from the eight seasons he spent as an assistant at Miami (Fla.), where former Hurricanes players remained close to the program.

Growing up in Arkansas and watching Southwest Conference football, Tuberville said mid-’60s Tech star Donny Anderson made a strong impression on him.

"So I’m looking forward to meeting Donny and a lot of the other lettermen that have been a big part of this program and put it where it’s at today,’’ Tuberville said.

FWST's Dwain Price:

Meanwhile, Tech basketball coach Pat Knight, who was one of the many who jammed into the United Spirit Arena press room to listen to the university’s 14th head football coach, is prepared to befriend Tuberville. For Knight, he knows the success of the football program is extremely critical to any university.

"I’m not stupid," Knight said. "We’re in the state of Texas and I know where the bread and butter come from.

"I’m glad they made a good hire, because it keeps it going, because I don’t want to take buses and eat at Carl’s Jr. next year on the road."

LAJ's Courtney Linehan:

Tuberville will be, at worst, a lateral move on the field. His record at Auburn and before that at Ole Miss shows what he can accomplish. The two men’s accomplishments stack up quite nicely.

But Tuberville’s approach will be drastically different.

Leach never liked making public appearances, but Tuberville talked about spending six months meeting with fans, alums, students and boosters. Leach rarely had an opening statement at his news conferences and tended to keep those gatherings brief; Tuberville spent 10 minutes Sunday outlining his plan then answered questions for nearly twice times that long.

FWST's Jimmy Burch:

During Sunday’s news conference on the Tech campus, Tuberville said: "There’s no doubt in my mind we can take it to the next level."

From a football standpoint, I think he can. But only if the current discord within the Tech fan base does not undermine the quality of a recruiting class judged No. 25 in the nation, as of Sunday, by Rivals.com. And only if Tech players will buy into the handful of "new wrinkles" Tuberville promises to unveil when spring drills begin.

If Tech players and fans tune out Tuberville during this awkward transition period, the Red Raiders could squander a golden opportunity to win a Big 12 South Division title next season. Tech brings back enough proven playmakers from a 9-4 team to push past Texas and Oklahoma next season if things fall Tech’s way and distractions are minimized.

LAJ's Don Williams:

"Sure, I like to run the football,’’ Tuberville said, "but I like to win. I’ve looked at the players on this team, and I believe with all my heart, we continue to do what we’re doing and a few new wrinkles, it will continue to make it better. But we are going to be fun to watch.’’

The 55-year-old Arkansas native, who coached Auburn to an 85-40 record from 1999 through 2008, was hired by Tech around lunchtime Saturday and was flown into Lubbock with his family by early evening.

He hit the ground running, introducing himself to Leach’s assistant coaches and making phone calls to recruits. As soon as his news conference concluded, Tuberville and the assistants were off to Orlando, Fla., for the four-day American Football Coaches Association convention that started Sunday.

TR's dedfischer:

You have to understand my philosophy on what makes a good offensive football team as to why I’m not fearful of our future.  It’s real simple for me.  If you’ve got better players running your system than the guys guarding them, your system will work.  When we had Michael Crabtree with Baron Batch, Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense was pretty badass.  Without Crabtree, not so badass and our system effectively gameplanned out Batch.