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Saturday, December 8, 2012
Hurt feelings, but Texas Tech is good job

By David Ubben


It's natural for there to be hurt feelings after Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville's exit to Cincinnati leaves the school "completely blindsided," as a Tech official told ESPN.com on Saturday.

Tuberville will be introduced later tonight as the Bearcat-in-chief at a news conference.

"Never felt more anger in my life, I vow, I swear, I will do everything I can next year, and Texas Tech will win the Big XII championship," Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro tweeted as the news swirled on social media.

Despite public comments to the contrary throughout his tenure, it's clear Tuberville had little intention of setting up a permanent home in West Texas and strongly desired to leave Lubbock.

The last two coaches to voluntarily leave the Big 12? Gene Chizik, who went 5-19 at Iowa State before winning a national title at his new job in Auburn. Coincidentally, Chizik served as a defensive coordinator on Tuberville's staff during a 13-0 season at Auburn in 2004.

The other? Les Miles, who checked out of Oklahoma State for LSU, one of the nation's top jobs.

Both won national titles at their new homes.

But a Big 12 coach leaving for a Big East school? Unheard of. It's evident of Tuberville's feelings toward his current job, which in most ways is a superior job to the one he took at Cincinnati.

There will be shock and hurt feelings left in Tuberville's wake. It's not all bad news, though. Tuberville left the Red Raiders in much better position than he found them, thanks to two of the best recruiting classes in school history. He stocked the roster with receivers, quarterbacks and pass-rushers, regardless of who stays and who goes from Tech's current recruiting class. Those are all musts to win in the Big 12, and Tech has the pieces to do it.

The Red Raiders have a good job to fill, and whoever fills Tuberville's shoes will have plenty to work with.

"I do think there’s no doubt that the cupboard is better today than it was when he got here, the material," Tech chancellor Kent Hance told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. "So the right guy will come in and win."

He is not playing the role of wide-eyed optimist; Hance is correct.

Texas Tech might make a run at Texas A&M offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, a Texas Tech alumnus who has made a name for himself at Houston and Texas A&M by developing quarterbacks like Case Keenum and Johnny Manziel, though Kingsbury is only 33 and has been in coaching only five years. He finished his Red Raiders career as one of the greatest quarterbacks in school history.

Texas Tech has found its identity in college football as a program built on offense. Look for the next hire to reflect that identity, something Tuberville's defense-first mentality never quite did.

There's plenty of reason to be unhappy with Tuberville, but as Texas Tech shops for a new coach, the Red Raiders will see there is plenty of reason to thank him as he walks out the door.