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Texas Tech hoping new D-coordinator David Gibbs can deliver stability

Instability often brings ineptitude.

So with six different defensive coordinators over the past six seasons, it's no wonder Texas Tech fielded one of the worst defenses in Big 12 history this past season.

The Red Raiders set new lows for defensive futility, including surrendering a league record 82 points in a humbling loss to TCU.

Tech is banking coordinator No. 7 can provide some much-needed stability to a unit that ranked last in the Big 12 in scoring defense this past season.

And thus cure the ineptitude, as well.

On Monday, the Red Raiders announced the hiring of Houston defensive coordinator David Gibbs, who will hold the same position in Lubbock.

"I couldn't be more excited about joining coach [Kliff] Kingsbury and the rest of our coaching staff," Gibbs said in a statement. "I have followed Kliff's career and believe special things are happening in Lubbock. There are several talented, young defensive players that will contribute for years to come. I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to getting started soon."

Gibbs is the type of veteran defensive playcaller Kingsbury targeted when he hired Matt Wallerstedt in January 2013, shortly after Kingsbury became Tech's head coach. But Wallerstedt abruptly resigned Sept. 18 after sources told ESPN.com the coach was suspected of being under the influence of an unknown substance on campus. Kingsbury had hoped Wallerstedt would be the answer. Instead, Wallerstedt's messy divorce with Tech resulted in interim defensive coordinator Mike Smith accusing Wallerstedt of passing along the Red Raiders' signals to opponents after he left Lubbock.

The saga underscored Tech's volatility at defensive coordinator dating back to the Mike Leach days, when the former Red Raiders head coach fired Lyle Setencich the day after an early-season shootout with Oklahoma State.

Since, it's been one defensive playcaller after the next.

Ruffin McNeal replaced Setencich and quickly elevated Tech's defense, which culminated with an 11-2 season in 2008. But after failing to land the head job when Leach exited, McNeal headed to East Carolina.

James Willis resigned after one season. Chad Glasgow lasted only one year. So did Art Kaufman, who followed Tommy Tuberville to Cincinnati.

Smith, who had been the linebackers coach, took over as interim coordinator when Wallerstedt left.

All along the way, the Red Raiders never developed a cohesive system, jumping from one scheme to the next, making it impossible to recruit defenders to the defense.

But in Gibbs, the Red Raiders finally have a proven defensive playcaller who is well-respected within the industry. After Tony Levine was fired at Houston, the Cougars tabbed Gibbs to lead the team as the interim head coach in the Armed Forces Bowl. There, the Cougars rallied from a 25-point fourth-quarter deficit to stun Pittsburgh 35-34 with a two-point conversion in the final seconds.

Gibbs' résumé, however, goes beyond his two seasons with the Cougars.

Gibbs, 46, was the secondary coach for the Texans for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. He also was defensive coordinator at Auburn in 2005 before becoming defensive backs coach for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2006-08. The Colorado graduate also had stints as an assistant at Oklahoma (1991-92), Colorado (1993-94), Kansas (1995-96) and Minnesota, where he was defensive coordinator from 1997-2000. Gibbs also was a defensive assistant with the Denver Broncos from 2001-04.

Gibbs' units have been strong against the pass, which will mesh well in the air-it-out Big 12. But he'll also have to repair a Tech run defense that was among the worst in the country in 2014.

But while he'll have his work cut out, Gibbs won't take over a cupboard completely bare. Outside linebacker Pete Robertson comes back after leading the Big 12 with 13 sacks. The entire secondary returns, headlined by former ESPN 300 cornerback Nigel Bethel II. Linebacker Mike Mitchell, who transferred from Ohio State, will also be eligible and should immediately fill a starting role alongside Robertson.

Now it's up to Gibbs to mold those pieces into a cohesive defense.

That won't happen overnight.

But the Red Raiders are trusting that Gibbs is in Lubbock to stay, at least for a little while, bringing stability to a defense that hasn't had any. And perhaps before long, proficiency, too.