Have I mentioned that I’m tired? Well, I’m tired. This termination was completely unexpected right now and I tend to get into a groove for the season and this is getting me out of my groove. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather be out of my groove knowing that Texas Tech is hopefully on a new path for the football program.
What I think Texas Tech wants for the head coach:
* From Texas.
* Head coaching experience.
* Not be divisive.
* Texas high school ties.
Those seemed to be the biggest items for Hocutt during his press conference yesterday and that’s not exactly a long list. This was also without having had the opportunity to meet with the committee to formulate a group idea of what they might want. That committee includes Dusty Womble, Cody Campbell, Sammy Morris, and Tony Hernandez. Although it wasn’t said, my guess is that Kirby Hocutt is part of the committee as well, but I don’t know if that was made clear yesterday.
Because I only have so much time I did not have time to write about Billy Napier (not from Texas), Jeff Lebby (Briles connection and no head coaching experience), Graham Harrell (no head coaching experience), Art Briles (well, he’s Art Briles and would be a very divisive hire), and Deion Sanders (sorry Rob, I just don’t see this as realistic).
NAME: Jeff Traylor
COLLEGE: Head Coach UTSA
RECORD: 15-5, 9-2
STRENGTHS: Traylor is originally from Gilmer and was absolutely incredible as the head coach there where he won 87% of his games and 5 state championships. Traylor was hired by Tom Herman as the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach and was then elevated to associate head coach on offense and for the receivers. Traylor then hopped to SMU where he was the associate head coach and running backs coach and then did the same thing at Arkansas for 2018 and 2019. In 2019 Traylor was hired by UTSA where he went 7-5 and is now 8-0. Traylor is a helluva recruiter, probably that’s his biggest strength. If you want to play this game, Texas Tech had the 87th best recruiting class in 2021 and Traylor had the 71st. This is not apples to apples as Texas Tech only had 12 commits, while UTSA had 20. Regardless, this is Traylor’s strength. Traylor being able to coach on top of this is really a bonus and he’s obviously proving his chops. Traylor is connected as anyone in the state. That’s the truth.
WEAKNESSES: The biggest weakness is the quality of teams that Traylor and UTSA have played. their best wins are at Illinois and at Memphis. Last year, UTSA had losses to UAB (by 7), BYU (by 7), Army (by 12), Florida Atlantic (by 12) and LA-Lafayette (by 7). The also relative inexperience is maybe an issue as he’s only been a head coach for 2 years.
NAME: Sonny Dykes
COLLEGE: Head Coach SMU
STRENGTHS: Dykes is the son of a Texas Tech legend in Spike Dykes and has been a coach in some form or fashion since 1994 where he started at JJ Pearce and worked his way up the ladder. Dykes got his first opportunity to be a head coach at Louisiana Tech where he went 22-15 including an 8 and 9 win seasons. The move to California was disastrous on some level and that’s why connections as to where you are from are incredibly important. Dykes didn’t have the high school connections in California and that was an issue. He went 19-30 in 4 seasons. After a season at TCU as an offensive analyst, SMU took a chance on Dykes where he’s been largely terrific and has a 29-14 record with the Ponies. Dykes is an offensive guy, or at least that’s what he’s been known as but truly he knows how to choose coordinators and that’s maybe the biggest job of a head coach. The current offensive coordinator is Garrett Riley. That last name should be familiar because he’s the brother of Lincoln. Defensive coordinator? Jim Leavitt. He was supposed to be up for the HC job at Texas Tech. Bad ass recruiters? Ra’Shaad Samples and Trey Haverty. (As an aside, Rhett Lashlee was the OC before Riley and it hasn’t worked out in Miami, but he can coach.)
WEAKNESSES: Dykes’ biggest weakness is the same as Traylor. SMU doesn’t have a ton of tough competition on the schedule, a good win at TCU as well as Navy are the best wins in 2021. In 2020, the 3 losses were against their best competition, Cincinnati, Tulsa, and East Carolina. The other wins were Texas State, North Texas, SFA, Memphis, Tulane, Navy, and Temple.
NAME: Anthony Lynn
COLLEGE: Offensive coordinator Detroit Lions
STRENGTHS: Lynn is an absolute gem of a human being aside from being a head coach. I’ll never forget how passionate he was at Spike Dykes funeral. “What are you good for?” Ask that to someone today. He also said that coaching is “relating, communicating, and serving”. I would think that doing this on the high school level would have more impact than at the professional level. I would say that it is very difficult to win in the NFL and to be a .500 coach says that he has chops. Not perfect, but he’s good. Lynn has done just about everything under the sun at the NFL level, coaching for 8 teams and he’s been an NFL lifer.
WEAKNESSES: Being an NFL lifer means that he’ll need to hire his very own Joey McGuire, a high school lifer that will recruit and connect with every high school coach in Texas. He’d also have to adjust to recruiting 24/7 and that might be very difficult to do for someone that has never done it before. Regardless, coaching in the college ranks is very different.
NAME: Joey McGuire
COLLEGE: Associate Head Coach Baylor
RECORD: Not applicable
STRENGTHS: McGuire was the head coach at Cedar Hill where he spent 14 years building an absolute monster of a program. In December of 2016 Matt Rhule hired McGuire to be his Texas-connection and it was a homerun hire. McGuire is the driving force behind recruiting at Baylor and to be honest he recruits West Texas better than Matt Wells ever did. I judge this based on commits and offers that Baylor has because they’re almost always on top of who to offer and are oftentimes first. He’s essentially a Jeff Traylor clone but without the head coaching experience. It is also my understanding that Traylor has a daughter that goes to Texas Tech.
WEAKNESSES: No head coaching experience. That’s the biggest concern. Being the captain of his own ship and having not been a coordinator either would maybe make this a tough sell. Regardless, I think the energy that McGuire would bring would be significant. Matt Wells not hiring a Texas high school coach lifer as the point person as a recruiter was his biggest mistake.
NAME: Sonny Cumbie
COLLEGE: Offensive Coordinator Texas Tech
RECORD: Not applicable.
STRENGTHS: sonny is a Red Raider through and through. The more that this goes on the more I really like him. Offenses are never perfect and he’s had a limited quarterback and has tried to fashion an offense around that, including trying to re-make an offensive line that was horrid last year. The offense I think is better and at the very least Cumbie thinks outside the box in terms of how the offense should operate. Not just going to do the same thing over and over.
WEAKNESSES: Has never been a head coach and worn that headset. I have no doubt that he’d do a good job and his ability to recruit is supposedly top-notch. These next four games are truly significant for him.
NAME: Dana Holgorsen
COLLEGE: Head Coach Houston
STRENGTHS: Holgorsen is maybe the one guy that really maybe ticks the box that he’s a Leach guy if that’s important to you. It’s not important to me any more. That ghost is dead. Holgorsen went 61-41 at West Virginia and figured out how to recruit Florida while in the middle of coal country. Holgo had 1 losing season while at WVU. He was hired at houston in 2019 the same time that Wells was and there were plenty of people who wanted Holgo as the head coach at Texas Tech at that time. At Houston Holgo has a 13-14 record, last year only playing 8 games and going 3-5 and going 4-8 the year before that.
WEAKNESSES: Holgoren is probably a bit gruff to put it mildly and he probably has a few idiosynchracies that might make him a very fun or very difficult roommate. You could probably say the same thing about me. The other thing that I didn’t like about Holgorsen was that he sort of left the WVU program for dead, just seemed to stop recruiting and just sort of gave in. I’m sure that there’s a hefty buyout for Holgorsen as he makes $4 million a year.
NAME: Kendal Briles
COLLEGE: Offensive Coordinator Arkansas
RECORD: Not applicable
STRENGTHS: Briles has done a good job as the offensive coordinator at Arkansas, Florida State, and Florida Atlantic and being from Texas, he probably has a lot of connections with high school coaches.
WEAKNESSES: Briles was there at Baylor when his father was there. Kendal allegedly said, “Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at Baylor and they love football players.” Personally, I have a hard time getting behind this Briles as a potential hire. I think this would likely be a divisive hire.