Tommy Tuberville explains how his staff calls plays
Texas Tech head coach pulled the curtain back a bit during his press conference this week. Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal provided a glimpse of how Tuberville and his staff run things during games.
“I don’t like anybody talking on the phones with the coordinator calling plays,” Tuberville said. “Worst thing you can do is have a head coach and assistants hollering in your ear. ... It’s got to be one guy, one thought, but the thoughts of other people come whether it’s timeout or (when) you’re off the field.
“Now, Neal will ask me, ‘Run or pass, coach?’” Tuberville said. “‘If this play doesn't work, if it’s third-and-5, do you want to run it, do you want to pass it?’ And I’ll give him my thought."
Like many head coaches, Tuberville oscillates between the offensive and defensive sides of the headset during games.
“But then he gets the last call," said Tuberville. "He knows a lot more about it than I do, because I’m over on the defensive side and a lot of times I’m not even watching (the offense). I’m listening to the defense and trying to help them.”
Brown was just 28 when Tuberville lured him from Troy to be the Red Raiders' offensive coordinator in 2010. The Texas Tech offense has come under fire of late, as the Red Raiders have been held to 24 points or under four times in Big 12 play this season. Texas Tech lost to Texas 31-22 on Saturday.
“It’s a lot harder when you’re there calling (plays) and you’ve got about 30, 40 seconds to make that decision,” Tuberville said. “That’s the reason we go freeze a lot of times. You’ll see us line up, we’ll get down and we’re all looking at the formation, and we’ll have one guy in the press box giving Neal the front and one the coverage: ‘Neal, they’re going to be in zero coverage, they’re going to bring five’, and then he’ll call a play.”
Tuberville stated that running backs coach Chad Scott and offensive line coach Chris Tomsen give their recommendation on running plays, and inside receivers coach Sonny Cumbie and outside receivers coach Tommy Mainord will do the same for pass plays.
The most-question decision made by Tuberville on Saturday came at the 1:35 mark of the third quarter. The Red Raiders had just scored a touchdown to pull within 24-22 and opted to go for two, which was ultimately unsuccessful. Though Tuberville bore the brunt of the criticism, it was a decision made by the staff ahead of time.
“You don’t go for two just spur of the moment,” he said, adding that the defense was playing well at that stage of the game. “We also thought, ‘Hey, we need to let these players know we’re trying to win the game.’ We’re trying to get back into it, so if we can score one touchdown and get that two-point play, then it would be huge momentum.”
Win or lose, it was a team decision.