After Texas Tech's historic 66-6 loss to Oklahoma State I suggested that nothing short of a coaching staff housecleaning could put Red Raider football back on the right track http://texastech.scout.com/2/1128489.html. And with the departure of defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow, in combination with the firing of Matt Moore and Otis Mounds, and the reassignment of Sam McElroy, it seems Tommy Tuberville agrees.
Obviously, most of Tech's worst problems were on defense. And so comprehensive were the problems that replacing a couple of position coaches was not enough. Improving fundamentals and techniques, while crucial, would not have been sufficient to boost the Red Raider defense to respectability. A complete renovation was necessary.
As of this writing we do not know who the new defensive coordinator will be. It is possible that new hire John Lovett could get the job. He certainly has enough experience, having been a college defensive coordinator at six different schools. The fact that Lovett hasn't already been named, however, suggests that Tuberville is still surveying the field for potential candidates.
Whoever Tuberville hires will have two main priorities. First, and most obvious, he will have to shore up Tech's run defense. The Red Raiders were dead last in run defense among FBS schools last season allowing 259 rushing yards per contest, a full 12 yards worse than the next worst rush defense of New Mexico. Tech's 5.27 yards per carry allowed was not much better, placing the Red Raiders in the No.112 slot nationally.
But more than simply ensuring that his players are in the right spots to make plays, the new defensive coordinator will need to be a master motivator and psychologist.
The 2011 Red Raider defense rarely played hard for Chad Glasgow. Infrequently did one see players running pell-mell to the football and displaying emotion on those rare occasions when they actually made a good play. (Defensive end Scott Smith was the exception to the rule.) The defense was strangely unemotional early in the season when they had much for which to play, and was shellshocked from the Iowa State game on.
Tech's new defensive coordinator will have to somehow erase the nightmarish memories of yesteryear and convince his players that they are good. After he has accomplished this, he will then have to fire up his charges consistently on gameday. It will take a very special coach indeed to turn this group around.
The right man for the job can do it, though. Manny Diaz instantaneously made Texas' defense much tougher to play against, and Oklahoma State's Bill Young is the difference between Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl and Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl. Likewise, Greg Mattison turned a weak Michigan defense into a very good one in the course of a year. Like Mack Brown, Mike Gundy and Brady Hoke, Tommy Tuberville must likewise hit a homerun with his new defensive coordinator hire.
Now we don't know who that man will be, but it seems reasonable to expect that he won't be a position coach with no experience as a coordinator. Tuberville hired two high-profile position coaches in James Willis and Chad Glasgow, and both were miserable failures as coordinators.
Expect Tuberville to hire a coach who has succeeded as a coordinator in the past. And for Tuberville's sake, he had better succeed at Tech too. This hire may well determine whether Tuberville's stint with Texas Tech ends in 2012, and whether, therefore, 2012 is Tuberville's final season as a head coach anywhere. The pressure is on to make the perfect hire.