Though the attention of most Red Raiders is focused on the basketball team’s run to the Sweet 16, the Texas Tech football team is worth paying attention to as well this March with the start of spring football. After all, this is the first spring under the guidance of new head coach Joey McGuire.
McGuire arrives at an interesting time in program history. It’s a point where this program desperately needs some stability at the head coach position following unprecedented turnover in the last decade-plus.
Since the start of the 2010 season, the Red Raiders have now had four different head coaches. That’s not a recipe for success.
The only other period in program history with similar coaching turnover was the stretch from 1970 to 1986 when Tech went through five head coaches.
But what makes the last 12 seasons of Texas Tech football so unique is the amount of losing this program has done since the end of the Mike Leach era. Going just 71-77 since the 2010 season, Tech has had arguably the worst 12-year stretch that the program has ever seen.
That’s why Joey McGuire is such a critical hire. Sure, every head coach that is brought on board is a massively important piece of the puzzle. But given the recent state of Red Raider football, it feels as if McGuire is a make-or-break hire for AD Kirby Hocutt when it comes to salvaging his football program.
In fact, we may be at a tipping point for Texas Tech football. With the highly unpopular Matt Wells now gone and with Sonny Cumbie having helped reunite the fan base in his five games as interim head coach, it feels as if a once jaded and cynical fan base is now cautiously willing to emotionally re-invest in Red Raider football.
Perhaps that’s where McGuire’s infectious personality will pay dividends. Though he has few ties to Texas Tech, he’s already ingratiated himself to the fanbase thanks to his unbridled enthusiasm and gung-ho approach to being a Red Raider. That’s refreshing after the unlikeability of both Tommy Tuberville and Matt Wells and the aloof and reclusive Kliff Kingsbury.
So now that a likable person is in charge of the program, it’s going to buy the Red Raiders some benefit of the doubt with the majority of the fandom. But, of course, that will only last so long as the wins have to start coming with far more regularity.
That’s where spring football plays a huge role as McGuire and his new coaching staff get their first opportunity to start instilling their culture and their systems with the pads on. But there are a host of questions that need to being to be answered this spring. So let’s take a look at several position groups worth monitoring over the next few weeks as McGuire begins to put his stamp on Texas Tech football.