Photo courtesy of Texas Tech Athletics
LUBBOCK, Texas (Sports Network) - Texas Tech formally introduced Tommy Tuberville as its next head football coach Sunday, and the former Auburn coach indicated he will make some changes but won't fundamentally change the program developed under Mike Leach.
Tuberville did not coach this past season after resigning from Auburn
following the 2008 campaign, when the Tigers went 5-7. He takes over the
position previously held by Leach, who was fired December 30 in the wake of
allegations regarding the treatment of receiver Adam James.
Tuberville said in his year off he "turned into a regular dad for a while,"
though also stayed connected to the game, talking to other coaches and
"But I missed it," Tuberville said of coaching. "When it gets in your blood,
you want to get back into it. But you know that the day you get out. It's kind
of like starting over. I'm excited about this opportunity and this
Tuberville brings to the team a vast amount of experience. Starting out as a
defensive coach, he eventually became head coach at Ole Miss before moving on
In 10 seasons with the Tigers, his teams went 85-40. Arguably his most
successful season came in 2004, when Auburn went 13-0 and finished with a No.
2 national ranking.
Tuberville said he thinks he can take the Red Raiders, who have never been to
a BCS bowl game, to the next level. Texas Tech became notable under Leach for
its potent aerial attack, and Tuberville said the team won't lose that under
"We're going to keep the Air Raid," Tuberville said. "It's something that Tech
has hit upon that gives them the identity to recruit."
He did say he likes to run the football and plans to make some subtle changes
to the offense, but "most you won't even recognize."
Tuberville also said improving the defense was a priority. The Red Raiders
were 41st in the Football Bowl Subdivision this past season in average points
"You can't win championships unless defense plays," Tuberville said. "If you
live on offense, sooner or later you're not going to play very well. You can
win games 13-7, 10-6. That'll have to happen some here. Your defense can show
up, because defense is nothing but want-to. I want to get the team defensively
to that point."
Before getting to work on the team, his first order of business will be to get
offensive and defensive coordinators in place, and other staffing changes will
have to wait until those positions are set.
Of particular interest figures to be the future of Ruffin McNeill, the
defensive coordinator who was elevated to interim head coach for Texas Tech's
Alamo Bowl win over Michigan State on January 2.
Tuberville has a number of people who aren't currently on the Texas Tech staff
he wants to interview and said he will also meet with the current staff to get
to know them better.
"Just have to wait and see if anybody strikes something in me that I think
they can get the job done," Tuberville said.