Wearing a red-and-black striped tie at his introductory news conference Sunday afternoon, new Texas Tech head football coach Tommy Tuberville offered at least one similarity between himself and former coach Mike Leach.
"They do call me the riverboat gambler," Tuberville said. "We will take chances. ... I know you've had some of that around here."
Tuberville laid out his vision for the next phase of Texas Tech football. In a nutshell: "The offense will not change; the defense will change."
The former Auburn coach, who was 85-40 during his decade there, follows up the most successful coach in Texas Tech's history. Leach's quirky personality and his high-powered, spread passing attack consistently had the Red Raiders competing with Texas and Oklahoma in the Big 12 South. Under Leach, Tech had 10 bowl berths and the program gained a national identity for the first time.
Tuberville said he will meet with the current staff Monday in Orlando, Fla. He said he has several interviews lined up with candidates outside of the program on offense and defense and then will consider coaches on the current staff. That includes defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill, who took over for the fired Leach and unified the players in the days leading up to the Alamo Bowl.
Tuberville said he will meet with the players for the first time at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Tuberville said he will select an offensive coordinator that is well-versed in passing schemes, and a defensive coordinator that shares his philosophy of an aggressive, blitzing style that primarily is based in a three-man front and distinguishable not by size, but overall speed. He noted he believes the defensive scheme will mimic that of BCS national champion Alabama.
Although a card-carrying member of the run-first school, Tuberville stressed that he will not overhaul the spread offense. His said he will establish a greater rushing presence, but that the passing game will remain the foundation of the offense. That likely had to be a prerequisite for the job considering the personnel already at Tech, including returning quarterbacks Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield, both of whom will be seniors next season, and a top 25 recruiting class assembled by Leach's staff.
"I am a true believer, most of you have heard this, I like to run the football," Tuberville siad. "Sure, I like to run the football, but I like to win. Those thinking he's going to change everything they're doing on offense, that’s wrong. We'll make subtle changes, most you won’t even recognize. ... I like to control the ball. You can do that in the air as well as on the ground."
Tuberville was joined at the news conference by his wife Suzanne, his mother Olive and his two sons Tucker and Troy.