If the Texas Tech Red Raiders were looking for the opposite of Tommy Tuberville, it appears they found it in Kliff Kingsbury.
And at this point, that's what matters to most people.
The Red Raiders' hiring of Kingsbury, a former quarterback at Texas Tech, in the wake of Tuberville's departure may have come as a surprise, but for the most part it's a welcome one. Kingsbury knows how to build a stellar offense. He isn't afraid to talk a big game or ruffle a few feathers. And most of all, he doesn't seem like the kind of guy to leave recruits at the dinner table thinking their coach fell into the toilet.
Texas Tech announced last week that it had hired Kingsbury, and both coach and athletic director Kirby Hocutt seem equally ecstatic about the arrangement.
Hocutt told ESPN.com's Joe Schad, "He's prepared his whole life for this. He's ready and I had no hesitation."
Kingsbury told Schad:
It's just been a whirlwind, but I couldn't be happier, beyond ecstatic to be back. It feels like home. This is where I wanted to be; it's where I've wanted to be.
Kingsbury may not have any head coaching experience, and he may be young, but he has credibility. That's what happens when you spend a season grooming the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.
Will it be hard for Kingsbury to bid farewell to Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M's stellar offense? Perhaps. But not hard enough. Texas Tech is where Kingsbury made a name for himself. It's where he became a legend, and now, he has the opportunity to build another legend—a series of legends—at the school he loves. Maybe he could've done that at A&M, but it wouldn't have been as meaningful.
Maybe Tuberville never loved Texas Tech. Maybe he was unhappy there, as some recent reports have suggested. There's no chance of Kingsbury feeling that way. Tuberville never had the passion, the dedication or the character required to succeed at Texas Tech, which became all the more evident as he engineered his escape.
Kingsbury has all of those things, tenfold. And he knows what it takes to be—and groom—a star quarterback, to boot.
Last season, as offensive coordinator at A&M, Kingsbury built the nation's third-best offense and coached a quarterback who threw for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns. The Aggies finished 10-2 in their first season in the SEC. The Red Raiders, meanwhile, could use a little of that magic after finishing 7-5 overall and 4-5 in Big 12 play.
Sure, he's never been a head coach, but he has what it takes to develop and nurture a great team. And he has the fearlessness it takes, too.
Upon being introduced as the Red Raiders' head coach, Kingsbury told the crowd, according to Yahoo! Sports:
We'll play with confidence, the kids are going to have fun, they're going to have swagger, and you'll enjoy this next year of Tech football, I promise you. … One last request for Kirby, I was going to see if there is any way possible we could get Cincinnati on the schedule next year.
Kingsbury loves Texas Tech. He loves this team. He'll never leave it hanging at the dinner table. He is the opposite of Tuberville, and right now, that's exactly what Texas Tech needs.
The fact that he knows a little bit about what it takes to win there doesn't hurt, either.
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