TEXAS TECH MAKING SIGNIFICANT STRIDES
By mark rogers
January 16, 2010
But with what has happened over the last two weeks, I'm beginning to think the rest of the Big 12 should be very, very scared.
New head coach: Tommy Tuberville. 110 wins at Ole Miss and Auburn combined including a 13-0 campaign in 2004 in Auburn. His worst season was 5-7 (his last at Auburn). He's posted winning seasons in 11 of 14 years as a head coach. Pretty good when you consider he's coached his entire career in the SEC West.
New offensive Coordinator: Neal Brown. 29-years old, the youngest OC in college football the last two years at Troy. Before that he was the Inside Receivers coach at Troy. He played one year under Mike Leach at Kentucky so he shares many of the Pirate's offensive philosophies. He is clearly one of college football coaching's bright, young, future stars.
New Defensive Coordinator (and this is the kicker): James Willis. Associate Head Coach and Outside Linebackers coach at Alabama. Tubs stole him right out from under Nick Saban. How is this possible you ask? Willis played and coached (two different stints) under Tubs at Auburn. He also had a lengthy NFL career. He's a stud and is an absolutely huge hire for the Red Raiders. Sorry Ruffin.
All these guys either have major SEC ties or (in Brown's case) have coached in SEC territory and know the type of football played down there. I think the Willis hire will end up being one of the best moves of this off-season of any program. We may not see it for a few years...just a prediction.
The only thing to really worry about now are all the recruits. Lubbock-land has heard lots of talk of guys de-committing or choosing other places in the wake of the Leach fallout, but I'll be very surprised if Tech doesn't end up with an equal or greater class than what was projected.
And that's based purely on the HC, OC and DC hires. Once guys on the bubble see those names on the program, they'll want to stay.
You may lose a few guys who were committed to and/or had bonded with Ruffin McNeil or another position coach, but overall, I think you'll see few major changes in the class.
Another important thing is that Tuberville retained strength and conditioning coach Benny Wylie. Most players have a deeper bond with the S&C coach than any other coach on the staff. That'll make a lot of players happy. Plus, Benny is a freak of nature.
So here are the biggest changes I think you'll see with Texas Tech:
- A professional aura around the program. Tuberville is professional, direct and doesn't screw around. He won't be as witty or goofy as Leach, but who the heck cares about that?
- No more 10 foot wide splits on offense. Thank goodness. That just didn't look like football to me.
- Great defense...and let's not forget that the 2009 class was LOADED with big-time defensive talent that is just waiting in the wings.
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