After a year’s hiatus, Tommy Tuberville returns to college football. He’ll relocate three states over to the gulf coast to man the post at Texas Tech.
Tuberville inherits an explosive spread offensive attack in Lubbock. He replaces Mike Leach who was fired last month after allegations arose about him mistreating injured wide receiver Adam James, son of Craig James.
Tuberville accepted the job Saturday. He was expected to sign his contract later this week. However, a source close to the contract says Tuberville could not speak because the terms were not final.
He is expected to receive a five-year contract worth 1.5 million a year.
Texas Tech’s football program reached new heights in 2008 with 11 wins. Tommy Tuberville believes he can build on previous successes and direct the program towards the college football summit.
“There’s no doubt in my mind we can take it to the next level,” Tuberville said.
The first step is an outright Big 12 South title for the Red Raiders, a BCS Bowl, and National title berth. The road to success starts by playing solid defense, like Texas and Oklahoma.
Tuberville will not deter from slinging the ball around on Offense and will employ other wrinkles as well.
“We’re going to keep the Air Raid,” he said. “I like to control the ball, and you can do that in the air as well as you can on the ground.”
Tuberville walks into a program that is on the rise but heated over the firing of his predecessor for the mistreatment of Adam James’s concussion.
However, it didn’t take long for the 55-year-old Tuberville to pledge his allegiance to Texas Tech. He sported the ‘Guns Up’ hand sign as he walked in to be introduced during Sunday’s press conference.
He donned a striped red-and-black tie with the school’s Double T logo embroidered at the bottom. During his introduction he did something future recruits might be doing next February, placing the Texas Tech cap on their head.
With lots of negativity publicity towards the recent firing of Mike Leach, Tuberville believes it is time for fans to move on.
“This is a small bump in the road,” said Tuberville.
“I like that people are disappointed. They should be,” Tuberville said. “But it’s not the end of the world because there is another day. And I’m telling Texas Tech fans right now that we’re going to be fun to watch.”
He met with players today and hired Troy’s Offensive Coordinator Neal Brown to direct Tech’s high-powered offensive scheme. The rest of staff will be assembled as the weeks continue.
Tuberville plans to interview four or five people for the defensive coordinator job and all of them are outside the program. The rest of the 2010 Alamo Bowl champion Tech staff was interviewed Saturday except for interim Head Coach Ruffin McNeil. Since then receivers coach Lincoln Riley and running backs coach Clay McGuire were let go.
A follow up meeting will be conducted at the American Football Coaches Association convention this week in Orlando, Florida to see if they mesh.
“I’ll just have to wait and see if anybody strikes something in me that I feel,” Tuberville said. “Hey, I think they can get this job done”.
Tuberville’s last coaching stop never ended on the note he hoped for. After numerous offensive struggles and a 4-8 record he stepped down from Auburn in December of 2008. Tuberville was 85-40 at Auburn, including a perfect season and #2 finish in the AP poll in 2004. He also fielded teams that contended for Southeastern Conference Championships.
Tuberville also had a previous SEC stop at Mississippi and where he inherited a program under NCAA sanctions. He posted a 25-20 record in four years.
He was a defensive coordinator at Texas A&M for a year when the Aggies finished 10-0-1 in 1994. The Aggies were one of the elite defenses in the nation.
451 miles away in Lubbock he looks forward to building similar results.