Tuberville ushers in new era at Texas Tech

Tommy Tuberville isn't spending any time worrying about Mike Leach. It's doubtful that sheds have come up in any conversations, and the same probably goes for any pirate talk, too. Tuberville came to Lubbock in January concerned about football and that hasn't changed.

"I don’t care what’s happened in the past. That’s not these kids problems or ours. We’re here to do a job and we’re going to come in and do it," Tuberville said. "There’s a lot of things that they might have done here in the past and still might do. I don’t know. I didn’t ask. I know how I want to do it."

And that's exactly how Tuberville's done it. He's kept the Air Raid, bringing in Neal Brown from Troy to run a speedier version of the system that's become Texas Tech's trademark over the past decade. He ditched the conservative approach on defense built to prevent the big play, instead giving James Willis his first chance to coordinate a defense after coaching linebackers under Tuberville at Auburn and Nick Saban at Alabama.

Tuberville apologized to the team for what they had to go through with a tumultuous bowl game following Leach's firing, but since then he hasn't concerned himself with anything he wasn't involved with personally. Instead, he's patterned his program after his own style and tweaked to fit the personnel he's able to employ with his new team.

"I didn’t try to be Terry Bowden when I went to Auburn. I didn’t try to be Billy Brewer when I went to Ole Miss," Tuberville said. "You’ve got to be your own guy."

That's meant imprinting his own identity, which has included an emphasis on running the ball more with one of the conference's most talented set of running backs, led by Baron Batch. He says he'll shoot to run the ball around 40 percent of the time, up from 32 percent of Texas Tech's snaps a year ago under Leach.

He's also shooting to do something Leach never did: unseat Texas and Oklahoma as the Big 12 South representative in the conference championship game. How he plans to do it is simple in theory, tougher in practice, but representative of the Red Raiders brand new head man.

"You've got to be more balanced on offense and play defense," Tuberville said. "That separates every team in every conference."