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Archive for Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tommy Tuberville has felt KU’s ‘pain’

August 13, 2011

This story is part of the KU Edition, a special section that runs in the Lawrence Journal-World.

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This story is part of the KU Edition, a special section that runs in the Lawrence Journal-World.

They come from different worlds, have accomplished different things and coach at different universities.

But Texas Tech football coach Tommy Tuberville has a pretty good idea what it felt like for Kansas University coach Turner Gill in 2010.

“Last year was a pain,” said Tuberville, set to begin his second season with the Red Raiders. “They always are, the first year being in a new situation. It takes a good year to get everything settled, get all your coaches moved in, get their wives off your back. (You) do all those things, (and that) makes you more comfortable.”

Unlike Gill, whose team limped to a 3-9 finish, Tuberville experienced a little success in 2010. He led Tech to an 8-5 season (3-5 in Big 12 play) and a victory over Northwestern in the TicketCity Bowl.

While all of that was happening on the surface, the hard part was bubbling below. Sure, the Red Raiders competed and finished the season on a high note. Tuberville credits last year’s senior class for that. But once that season ended and once those seniors were gone, the real work began.

“When you move in, you’re a long way behind,” Tuberville said. “We won eight games; won a bowl game. It wasn’t a great year, but it was a year I think that we can look back on and say, ‘You know, that was the start of something good.’”

While some of last year’s success was simply pieced together, Tuberville figures to earn whatever comes his way in 2011.

For starters, the Red Raiders switched their base defense from a 3-4 to a 4-3. The reason? Tuberville’s a big believer in the importance of an impact pass rusher off the edge and his roster has the pieces to better fit that style.

That may be, but not many of them are proven. On defense alone, Tech will be forced to replace seven starters from last year’s unit, something Tuberville says will be this team’s greatest challenge.

On offense, the high-octane days of former Tech coach Mike Leach now are officially gone. The Red Raiders return a quarterback with experience in Seth Doege, but Tuberville said he builds his teams around speed and defense.

“That’s how you win championships,” he said. “It’s not with anything else other than the speed on defense. (That gives) your offense an opportunity not to have to score 100 points to win a game. And that’s the mode that we want to get into.”

In front of Doege will be an experienced and talented offensive line that should provide Doege time to figure out which players he needs to get the ball to.

“We’ll have all new skilled players on offense,” Tuberville said. “It will be kind of hit and miss for a while.”

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