Expect No Miracles From Price and Lovett

With new coaches coming in, expectations might be high, but our Joe Yeager explains why not to expect greatness right away.

Very early in Tommy Tuberville's Texas Tech tenure, he signaled that patience would not be one of his prime virtues. In a press conference Tuberville stated—and I paraphrase—if you don't recruit, you won't be on my staff very long.

 

Nobody knows for certain if inability or unwillingness to recruit precipitated the dismissal of Otis Mounds and Matt Moore, and the reassignment of Sam McElroy, but the point is that Tuberville did not stand pat following a terrible season. And this is in stark contrast to Spike Dykes and Mike Leach who were known for their slavish loyalty to even underperforming coaches.

 

In Tuberville's case, however, he simply had to make moves. At least on the defensive side of the coaching staff.

 

Red Raider fans thought they had seen the worst of all possible bad defenses in 2003, but it turned out--in the immortal words of Bachman Turner Overdrive—that they had not seen nothing yet. The 2010 unit started the season in a freefall, proceeded into a nosedive, and then terminated in a death spiral. Tuberville had to make changes, if for no other reason, than to at least give the appearance of taking the crisis seriously.

 

So Mounds and McElroy were forced to step aside, and Terry Price and John Lovett were brought onboard. Tuberville has not made public Price and Lovett's specific spheres of influence, but we can probably safely assume Price will be working with the defensive line, which has long been his coaching (and playing) specialty. Lovett could simply take over for Mounds as cornerbacks coach, but I suspect Robert Prunty will be moved to Mounds' old position, with Lovett taking over the linebackers from Prunty.

 

Regardless of where the new coaches are placed, however, do not expect to see any sort of a schematic overhaul of the defense. If Tuberville desired a total renovation of the defense's posture he would have gotten rid of defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow and brought in a coordinator with a different philosophy. Instead he imported a pair of position coaches, and position coaches do not determine schematic policy, they merely teach it.

 

And teach is the operative word here. Along with recruiting, the one area that Price and Lovett can make an impact is with their teaching abilities.

 

One can make a very strong argument that Tech's defensive players sorely lacked in football fundamentals last season. Defensive linemen played high, they bit hard on ball fakes and they were unable to shed blocks. The linebackers too, never met a block they could shrug off. And the secondary put on a weekly clinic in how to miss tackles.

 

If Price and Lovett, through rigorous and effective teaching of fundamentals and technique, are able to ameliorate the basic deficiencies that plagued the defense in 2011, they will have improved the defense noticeably.

 

But Price and Lovett could be the Charles Berlitz and Bob Knight of teaching defensive football and the Red Raider defense would still struggle next year. The problems with this unit are so profound and comprehensive that three steps up will still equal bad.

 

As has been the case with Tech football for over a decade now, therefore, carrying this team will be the offense's burden. And two new defensive position coaches aren't going to alter that reality one iota.


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