It takes a special set of skills to succeed at Texas Tech. Tommy Tuberville didn't possess them, which is probably why he bolted for Cincinnati, where he'll be a better fit. It worked out for the Red Raiders, though, as Kliff Kingsbury brings the right attitude to the table.
Being a good coach with the ability to recruit is only part of the battle at Texas Tech. After all, there are SEC and Big 12 powerhouses fighting for the same players, and most of those coaches can make a pretty convincing argument why to choose their program.
The Red Raiders need somebody who's willing to fight tooth and nail to show why they are a good alternative to Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama and LSU, among others. The program can't accept simply being a fallback option.
His journey at Texas Tech has only just begun, but Kingsbury has already shown the swagger necessary to get things moving in the right direction. He even mentioned that key word—swagger—in his comments about taking the job, reports Graham Watson of Yahoo! Sports:
"As far as football goes, I'm more of a walking type guy, not a talking type guy, so I'll let y'all see that in the fall, but it's going to be an exciting brand of football. We're going to be attacking on both sides of the ball. 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."
The Red Raiders are coming off a nondescript 7-5 regular season, which saw them lose four of their last five games. They will face Minnesota in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, but a victory there wouldn't suddenly transform the season into a great one.
In reality, there's some work to do and Kingsbury knew that before leaving his post at Texas A&M to accept the position. The former Red Raiders QB worked closely with Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, and will attempt to bottle some of that magic as he heads to Lubbock.
How would you grade the Kingsbury hire?
Having spent his collegiate career at Texas Tech, Kingsbury understands the challenges he faces and that will allow him to hit the ground running. What he lacks in experience at age 33, he'll more than make up for in exuberance and desire.
He probably could have stayed with the Aggies, continued to work with Manziel and eventually been offered multiple head coaching spots down the line. By taking the risk and jumping now, the Texas native shows he believes he can get the program back on track.
If he believes, he can get other people to believe too. Whether it's the players already on the roster, a top-ranked recruit, a prominent booster or simply the fans who show up on Saturday, Kingsbury can change the outlook.
It's a gradual process that's just getting started, and it will likely take a couple years before the results match the renewed enthusiasm. But the early returns are very positive.
Kingsbury is the right man for the job.