Matt Wells is no longer the Texas Tech head coach for the Red Raider football team. This comes as the final preverbal straw fell after another late-game collapse against Kansas State this past Saturday. Former Red Raiders quarterback and current offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie is expected to take over as interim coach for the remainder of the season. The “Fort Worth Star-Telegram” first reported Wells would be fired Monday.
What Went Wrong
Wells leaves the Hub city with a 13-17 record and a 7-16 record in Big 12 games. The 5-3 mark the team had posted so far this season was due more in part to a scheduling break than the team playing significantly better than it had in the previous two seasons. The offense struggled mightily, especially for traditional standards for Texas Tech, in his first two seasons at the helm of the program. If not for firing his previous offensive coordinator, David Yost (who was with Wells at Utah State), Wells might have been fired after the 2020 season.
Wells just never seemed to get this ship turned in a sustained positive direction. The team consistently looked lifeless against teams that did not have a decided talent advantage in the game, as well as some late-game inexcusable blunders. As the Texas Tech head coach, Wells had done a pretty good job of bringing in key transfer pieces to help make the team competitive now and was starting to gain positive momentum with the recruiting classes. But in a moment that perfectly sums up Wells’ tenure, committing a horrible personal foul call on 3rd and 34 while still winning a game in the fourth quarter was the exact moment that this all officially came apart.
Candidates For To Be The Next Texas Tech Head Coach
Jeff Traylor has UTSA at 8-0 and in the Top 25 for the first time in program history. UTSA has only had a football program for 10 seasons. He is a former Texas high school coach with deep-rooted connections throughout the state, and also has worked in the Big 12 before as an assistant at Texas.
If Texas Tech is looking for “Mr. West Texas” they just need to look at their native son currently coaching at SMU. The son of the late Spike Dykes who was a legend at Texas Tech has built SMU to be one of the top-tier Group of 5 programs but has failed at the Power 5 level previously at Cal. Would Dykes want to come to a program in need of a true tear down and rebuild?
Briles isn’t coaching college football currently for reasons unrelated to football. And those are well-documented. But he has been relatively out of the spotlight now for six years. The former Texas Tech runningbacks coach achieved new heights for the Baylor program. Would Texas Tech fans be willing to embrace a head coach with such a troubling record off the field?
The first coordinator as an option was an assistant under Briles when Baylor was lighting up scoreboards in the Big 12. The current quarterback coach and co-offensive coordinator for Ole Miss is a major factor in seeing the Rebels climb into the top-10 for the first time since 2015. No prior head coaching experience would be a concern but could bring explosive offensive back to the plains of Lubbock.
Current USC offensive coordinator and another former Red Raider quarterback could very likely get a call. Harrell has been climbing in the coaching ranks over the last decade. But are Tech fans worried that this could be a similar story they just witnessed with Kliff Kingsbury as the Texas Tech head coach?
This would be the off-the-radar candidate with a similar story Jeff Traylor. Samples has been the head coach for Duncanville High school for the last six seasons. Prior to that, he was the head coach at Skyline High school. He has nine state playoff appearances, 33 playoff wins, and two state title game appearances. A source within the district confirms that Samples has major recruiting ties throughout the state. Samples would be a dynamite recruiter for the Red Raiders. A Texas Tech head coach with strong recruiting ties could bring an element the program has never seen before as the Red Raiders have never signed a 5-star recruit in the history of the 247 rankings, dating back to 1999.