Texas Tech Football: Breaking Down Potential Replacements for Tommy Tuberville

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIDecember 8, 2012

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 5: Head coach Tommy Tuberville of the Texas Tech Red Raiders coaches against the Texas Longhorns on November 5, 2011 at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. Texas beat Texas Tech 52-20. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

The Texas Tech football program will have its work cut out for it in searching for a replacement for head coach Tommy Tuberville, who will leave the program to fill the same position at the University of Cincinnati, according to ESPN's Dave Ubben.

The Red Raiders have put up plenty of points for years and have typically been undone by inept defenses. Then again, there's no guarantee that the new regime would foster any continuity of explosiveness in the passing attack.

With the induction of another defensive-minded head coach to succeed Tuberville who could continue to foster the team's offensive prowess, Texas Tech could emerge as a consistent Big 12 powerhouse.

That makes it all the more interesting to see which direction the administration wants to go in replacing Tuberville.

Here are a few potential candidates—including some alums—that the Red Raiders should look long and hard at to be the 15th head coach in the program's history.


Kliff Kingsbury

The former Red Raiders quarterback is the current offensive coordinator at Texas A&M, where he has called the shots for Heisman front-runner Johnny "Football" Manziel's spectacular season.

Texas Tech still likes to air it out as much as anyone in the nation, as Seth Doege was the latest signal-caller to put up massive numbers in the Red Raiders system.

After having to match wits with SEC defenses for the season, it's conceivable that Kingsbury could return to his alma mater for a head coaching gig. It would be about the only thing that could drag him away from Manziel for what will be at least another two seasons.

In 2011, Kingsbury called the shots in a similar spread attack at Houston with Case Keenum, as the Cougars scored over 50 points per game and averaged just under 600 yards of offense. Keenum wound up as the NCAA's all-time leading passer.

To say Kingsbury's name is hot is an understatement. At just 33 years old, he could already be looking at a very long tenure in Lubbock with his beloved Red Raiders.

It's hard to rule him out at this point, and given his extremely successful track record, it likely wouldn't be a struggle for him to recruit a top-notch staff and players to plug into his brilliant offensive scheme.


Sonny Cumbie

Another option for the Red Raiders would be to look for a replacement internally. Of course, that depends on how much of Tuberville's staff the school would retain.

As a holdover from Mike Leach's staff, Cumbie currently serves as the Red Raiders' inside receivers coach. He was also a former quarterback for the school like Kingsbury, perhaps best known for out-dueling Cal's Aaron Rodgers in a Holiday Bowl victory back in 2004 (h/t ESPN). 

Perhaps a coordinator job would be more ideal in the immediate future for Cumbie, but considering his familiarity with the program, it wouldn't be the worst hire for the Red Raiders to make.

Offensive coordinator Neal Brown, if he doesn't join Tuberville's staff with the Bearcats, has been linked to take the same position at Kentucky as well as possibly several other head coaching vacancies, according to Nick Kosminder of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

Cumbie would virtually guarantee that the Texas Tech offense would continue to thrive, as he has served as the mentor for players like prolific quarterback Graham Harrell in recent years.

Although other candidates may have the deeper resumes, Cumbie already has the Lubbock connection and would be able to draw on personal experience as a means to bring recruits in much like Kingsbury could.

Likely to be a dark horse, Cumbie should still be considered if the Red Raiders look to promote rather than conduct an exhaustive nationwide search with so many vacancies rapidly filling.


Phillip Montgomery

The current Baylor Bears offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach has been around the program for five years and has orchestrated a beautiful spread offense on Art Briles' staff.

Yes, that means Montgomery keyed the development of No. 2 overall pick Robert Griffin III, and with more and more dual-threat QBs rising from the high school ranks, Montgomery would be able to make an extremely attractive pitch to prospective players.

2012 has proven that Montgomery wasn't simply a beneficiary of Griffin's talents. Successor Nick Florence has taken over at quarterback and picked up right where RGIII left off, accounting for 40 total touchdowns on the year.

Thanks to three consecutive wins to cap off the season—including a blowout victory over then top-ranked Kansas State in which the Bears scored 52 points—Baylor will face No. 17 UCLA in the Holiday Bowl.

That late-season rally keyed by the Bears offense has been led by Montgomery, and that should have him high on the wish lists of schools with coaching vacancies across the country.

With interconference familiarity in the Big 12, Montgomery knows how to exploit many of the opposing defenses already. Getting a QB who can run as well as throw could morph the Texas Tech offense into something even more phenomenal than years past.

Plus, having been with Briles through thick and thin, Montgomery has seen how to build a contender out of nowhere at Baylor. With viable pieces already in place in Lubbock, Montgomery may be just the man for the job.