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Texas Tech's Tommy Tuberville :: First Impressions

The CEO Head Coach

One of the first things you'll read about Tommy Tuberville is that he's going to be a CEO head coach.  There's certainly some truth to that as Tuberville will engage in the hand-shaking and necessary rounds of golf with boosters.  But to label Tuberville merely as a CEO isn't accurate.  Tuberville trained some of the best in the business, including UT's Will Muschamp (for one year), Iowa St.'s Paul Rhodes and current Auburn head coach Gene Chizik.  I can't help but think that Tuberville didn't teach these gentlemen a thing or two about defense.  ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett had this to say:

Tuberville was considered a CEO-type coach during most of his time at Auburn. He hired good assistants and let them do their jobs. And while the offense struggled after 2004 -- losing quaterback Jason Campbell and running backs Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown to the first round of the NFL draft didn't help -- Tuberville's teams continued to play stellar defense. And he sure could hire good defensive coordinators. Gene Chizik went on to become the head coach at Iowa State and took over at Auburn after Tuberville was fired. Will Muschamp, like Chizik, left Auburn for Texas. And Muschamp is ready to take over once Mack Brown retires.

This gives me a pause for some comfort as he knows what makes a good coach, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

And Durrett (who grew up around Auburn football) writes that Tuberville coached teams will be well-coached:

I got a chance to watch many of Tuberville's games at Auburn (full disclosure: I grew up on Auburn football and many members of my family are alums). The common threads to those teams: disciplined, smart and physical. Tuberville coached very conservatively on offense because he had an aggressive defense that could pressure the quarterback and contain the run. So he let that defense win games. His teams didn't make many mistakes (until 2008) and rarely beat themselves. He and his staff did a solid enough job recruiting that Auburn had the upperhand over Alabama during much of his tenure.

The Defense

The word is that Tuberville is looking to hire current Alabama associate head coach and linebackers coach, James Willis as the defensive coordinator.  Willis is a former player under Tuberville and spent three years as Tuberville's linebackers coach at Auburn before landing at Alabama this year.  I can't say that I've watched a ton of Auburn football so I'm not sure what to expect, but to think that Tuberville will be able to convince Willis to come to Lubbock would be a significant improvement and you can expect to see a faster and more attacking style of defense from Texas Tech.  It's going to be interesting.

We're Not All Happy

I get that this isn't the best scenario that Texas Tech is naming a head coach.  To say that the termination of the Captain (and I haven't changed the tag for DTN, suggestions welcome) wasn't appropriate or fair is an understatement.

With that being said, none of what happened this past week has to do with Tommy Tuberville.

As I stated this morning:

For those of you who won't support the team ever again, I'm not sure what to say.  I'm not in the business of telling people what to do, which includes when they need to move on from this entire fiasco.  I don't have an answer.  But for me personally, when (if) a new coach his hired, I'm going to start previewing players and coaches and make sense of the situation that's happening now.  I'm not going to tell anyone they can't still be angry, but DTN is supposed to be a hobby for me and it's more "fun" to follow the players, talk about new coaches, and get ready for spring football, so that's what I'm going to do.

I've always maintained that DTN is nothing more than a time-consuming hobby that I absolutely love.  I do not believe that the Texas Tech fan-base will forgive the misdeeds of the administration until there have been significant changes at the top, but sports is supposed to be an outlet for those of us that have crappy jobs and want nothing more than to enjoy his or her team. 

I'm not going to forget and I'm not going to try to convince anyone else to forget either.  I'm going to write about what makes interests me and keeps me distracted from the real world.

Much more after the jump.

The Coaching Staff

I'm hoping that by tomorrow afternoon, we'll know a lot more about the coaching staff.  I told a friend earlier this evening that much of the offensive current recruiting class depends on the coaches and coordinators that Tuberville keeps.  If you're asking me, I think that right now, the Tuberville has a very competent offensive staff that he could essentially take a hands-off approach, at least for a period of time. 

The big name is inside receivers coach Lincoln Riley, who NFL scout Gil Brandt compared to Mack Brown, and has spent the past seven years on the former coaching staff, starting off as a walk-on quarterback, graduate assistant and led the offense in the Alamo Bowl. 

The important offensive coaches doesn't stop there as I believe that offensive line coach Matt Moore is perhaps equally as important.  The offensive line has grown leaps and bounds since his arrival, including an offense that allowed a NCAA low of five sacks in 2008.  This has been a rebuilding year as Moore had to replace three offensive linemen, who of which were All-Americans -- Rylan Reed and Louis Vasquez

Since Clay McGuire was moved to running backs coach last year, I can say that I hardly noticed a difference in production and quite frankly, McGuire was able to get Eric Stephens ready to get on the field incredibly early.

I'd also add that I think folks are over-looking former signal caller Sonny Cumbie.  The interesting thing about Cumbie is that he's paid his dues, just not at Texas Tech.  Currently a graduate assistant, he was elevated to the booth to help out Riley during the Alamo Bowl and as much credit as Riley has received, Cumbie certainly deserves some as well.  Cumbie spent time playing in the AFL, was a player-coach for San Angelo, also an indoor football league team.

The Recruits

Of the current recruits these three offensive coaches have recruited the following players:  DE Scott Smith, QB Scotty Young, RB Aaron Spikes, OL Denton Simek, DB Tre'Vante Porter, OL James Polk, WR Lincoln Riley, RB Delans Griffin, WR Shawn Corker, DE Dartwan Bush and WR Kadron Boone.  To say that the bulk of the skill positions on the offense were recruited by these three coaches is absolutely accurate. 

I'm concerned about the recruits staying on board and LAJ's Don Williams writes that this may be the case.  You can read various quotes from the recruits who have legitimate concerns.

The retention of most, if not all of these players, is vital to this staff.

Changing the Offense

There's going to be a ton of questions about whether the offense changes.  Make no mistake, the offense will change, but I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing.  I know, a lot of the identity of Texas Tech football was due to Leach's installation of the Air Raid offense.  It gave an advantage to the Red Raiders where there wasn't always a physical advantage.

I may be alone on this thought and it's not meant to be derogatory, but as I watched the BCS national championship game I couldn't help but think that I'll never understand why the Texas Longhorns moved away from the ability to maintain their power running game.  They could and should be able to recruit maulers on the offensive line (additional thoughts by TR's dedfischer) and dominate the line of scrimmage whereas teams like Texas Tech had to be a little different to create mismatches. 

Right now, the current make-up of the offense is to run the spread.  Tuberville's last year in Auburn didn't have the personnel to run the spread and they attempted to implement the spread, hell or high water.  Much like that was a mistake, it would be a mistake for Tuberville to change much at least for the next two years.  If Tuberville wants to implement more of a power running scheme, I think that's fine because I believe that the Red Raiders have the personnel to do so, much more so than Texas Tech had when Leach was initially hired.