Finally, it’s time for meaningful football to return to Jones Stadium. It’s not that last week’s 63-10 win over Murray State meant nothing to Texas Tech’s football program, but now and for the rest of the season, the games will have an impact in the sense that they will not be lost.
It starts today with a huge non-conference showdown with No. 25 Houston in Lubbock. Of course, it brings a familiar old face back to the visitor sideline.
There was a time when Cougars head coach Dana Holgorsen was a Lubbock legend. Known also for his role as one of Mike Leach’s best assistant coaches and for his nightlife-loving personality, Holgorsen has remained one of the most popular members of Leach’s coaching tree since his departure. .
There was even a time when he seemed like he was close to returning to lead the Red Raiders. At the end of 2018, when Texas Tech was looking for Kliff Kingsbury’s replacement, Holgorsen was at odds with his then-employer, West Virginia, where he had served as head coach since 2011.
Credible reports from Lubbock media personnel, such as that of then-KAMC sporting director David Collier, said that Holgorsen had a keen interest in opening Red Raider, but was denied the chance to play. to interview for the job. In fact, it’s believed that a well-connected booster had arranged for Holgorsen to meet AD Kirby Hocutt only for Hocutt to refuse to take the meeting.
We all know by now that Hocutt had only one real contender in mind in 2018, misqualified Matt Wells. So even if he had chosen to appease the booster(s) in Holgorsen’s camp, Hocutt probably wouldn’t have really thought about this meeting.
A few weeks later, Holgorsen fled the hills of Appalachia and found refuge in Houston where he did a great job of turning the Cougars into one of the best 5-man programs in the country. As for Wells…he works somewhere deep in the Oklahoma football offices as a behind-the-scenes analyst.
One has to wonder how much Holgorsen still resents Hocutt and Tech over this incident. Sure, he landed very well on his feet, and soon he’ll be coaching in the Big 12. Plus, he’ll never admit to feeling slighted by Hocutt in 2018.
However, he coached last season’s game against Tech as if trying to win his own personal Super Bowl. Throwing everything he had at the Red Raiders, including a surprise kick after Houston’s first drive of the game resulted in a TD, he showed through his actions that he was desperate to stick with the game. old TTU.
Of course, part of that motivation had to come from the sheer desire to get a win over a Big 12 team. But deep down there has to be a part of his pride that wants to show Tech that they’ve committed a Crucial mistake in not hiring him in 2018. It’s just human nature.
So expect Holgorsen to have yet another thing up his sleeve today as he gets another shot at the school he worked for. It might not be a sneak attack in the kicking game just yet, but there will likely be a time in the contest where he tries to make a bold move that defies convention and could be a turning point in the game. competition.
Of course, Tech fans are now happy with their head coach, as Joey McGuire could run for mayor of Lubbock and win in a landslide. Plus, imagine how popular he’ll be if his team gets a win over a top-25 team in only his second game on the job.
For that to happen, the Red Raiders needed to be strong in all aspects of the game. However, the following three areas of this game will prove particularly critical and these are facets of the game that Tech must win.