When Tommy Tuberville showed up to his introductory press conference and announced he was here to win championships, one can conclude he expects a great amount of success here on the South Plains.
The way to design a successful season in previous years was to have the QB throw for 4,000 yards and 25-plus TDs. If Tech did that, then it was apparent our players were meeting their statistic quotas and everyone was getting noticed in the press.
Since Tubs stepped foot on the Tech campus he hasn't mentioned stats or what he expects the numbers to be for the players coming into the program. It is clear the only number that means anything to him is the number of wins the Red Raiders have at the end of the year.
There was nothing wrong with how the previous regime ran their ship, an appropriate word choice, because every year Tech finds itself around eight wins and in a bowl game around New Years Day.
Though, it's clear that just won't cut it for Tuberville.
You don't come into a program that has averaged over eight wins a year for the last decade and talk about championships unless you feel you can take that program to the next step. Which begs the question, should Tech expect a championship, of any kind, in 2010-11?
Remember Tuberville went 6-5 at his first year at Ole Miss and 5-6 at his first year at Auburn, but those circumstances were different then what he inherited in Lubbock. Ole Miss was coming off NCAA scholarship sanctions and Auburn's coach resigned the previous year with five games remaining in the season.
He inherits an offense with a bevy of talent at wide receiver, highly touted quarterbacks and four-star running backs. The offense shouldn't have trouble lighting up the scoreboard this season. Add on offensive coordinator, Neal Brown, who guided Troy as the fourth-best offensive team in the nation last year, and it could mean Tech may actually be more productive then it was last year under Mike Leach. Tech finished sixth in total offense last season.
The real questions come on defense where Tech lacks experience on the defensive line and secondary. The minute defensive coordinator James Willis was hired he uttered the word fans had been waiting to hear for entirely way too long. Willis said he was going to blitz and although he will have a lot of talent to work with, it will come with very light game experience.
I didn't put nine wins because it was one more than Leach averaged his time here; I put it because I honestly believe this team has the stand-alone talent to win eight games. Add in Tubs' experience, aggressiveness (after all his nickname is The Riverboat Gambler) and a little optimism, and that gives Tech nine wins. Even though they will face defenses like Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, who surprisingly averaged giving up less than 22 points a game last year.
Don't get me wrong, before Tubs' time here in the Hub City is over I fully expect at least one Big 12 South title and a conference championship, but I also think Tech needs to be realistic and patient. Although I do expect Tech to compete, the defense will be young and going up against stout offenses this year including Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Houston. Are these the games you expect Tech to lose? No, actually I expect Tech to win two of those, but it is worth mentioning that Tuberville and Willis will be going through this year with Leach's recruits.
Being reasonable might be hard to do on Saturday afternoons sitting inside of Jones AT&T Stadium or in front of the television, but these, if nothing else, should exceed the expectations of someone familiar with going undefeated for a season. Tuberville's already set the bar high for himself, the least he could do is show promise. Nine wins will.