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Potential Texas Tech OC Candidates

The Red Raiders are in desperate need of an offensive change

Photo cc: Brad Tollefson/AP

Texas Tech is in search of a new OC after a disastrous two years under David Yost. Disastrous might be too strong of a word for the offensive results, but compared to years past and the play calling, it seems fitting. You may not agree with the decision by Kirby Hocutt to keep Head Coach Matt Wells, but here we are.

Here is my personal Top 5 list for Texas Tech.

I’ll say this about the list before I get it started, I think realistically Tech is looking at 3, 4, and 5 on the list. Could they get Harrell or Cumbie? Sure, but I think with their respective roles at USC and TCU it would be a lateral move at best. The only reason they would leave in my opinion is due to the Tech connection.

  1. Graham Harrell

*Captain Obvious alert*

This might be a “pipe dream” for Texas Tech, but you have to at least make the call. Sure, Harrell has a pretty sweet gig, calling plays for a Top 15 team, getting paid 1.2 mil a year, and has loads of talent on his offense. Why would he even consider leaving that? Good question, there are rumors out there that Harrell and his family don’t really like SoCo and want to get back to the Lone Star state. If that’s the case, what better spot than his alma mater? He’d be a welcomed sight for sore eyes and would bring back a lot of the fan base that is mad/upset at the current state of the program. Is it likely this happens? Probably not, but if you put the money up (might not be possible) and offer him free rein of the offense… maybe it could happen. It’s at least worth a call.

2. Sonny Cumbie

This one might be a bit more likely than Harrell considering the past between Tech and Cumbie in terms of coaching at the school. TCU did struggle this year on offense, but that was mostly due to injuries and poor offensive line play. All things considered, Cumbie did a pretty good job with the flaws the offense had. Again, much like Harrell, this is at least worth a phone call. The odds aren’t great, but it can’t hurt to ask.

3. Garrett Riley

This is where the list becomes “realistic”. Riley is a former Tech player before transferring and brother to Lincoln Riley, the OU Head Coach. Riley was the App State RB coach in 2019 where he helped lead the Mountaineers to a 13-1 record and dominate teams with Sun Belts leading rusher and offensive player of the year, Darrynton Evans, and the run game. Riley then moved on to SMU where he was named OC at the beginning of 2020. Contrary to popular belief, it was Riley calling plays and not Sonny Dykes for the Mustangs in 2020. How did the SMU offense fair in Riley’s first year?

I’d say pretty well. This is the candidate I think Wells should be targeting. He’s young and would bring energy back into a program that seems to be going through the motions.

4. Joe Jon Finley

The former OU TE and now Ole Miss Asst Head Coach/Passing Game Coordinator/TE Coach is an underrated option for the job. A lot of people don’t know the name and that’s completely understandable. He is a nine-year coaching vet and has produced some elite-level TEs at both his previous stops of A&M and Missouri. Why is that relevant? If you look at the current Tech roster and the 2021 recruiting class, there some quality TEs that need to be developed and used effectively. I’m not saying you should base your hire on one position especially if its, not the QB position, but Finley would bring a different mindset to the program after being around Lane Kiffin and seeing how he runs an offense down in Oxford. It would be a fresh of breath air for the program.

5. Zach Kittley

The name that every Tech fan was mentioning after the Houston Baptist season opener. Kittley, son of the legendary Tech T&F coach, Wes Kittley, was recently hired by Western Kentucky. This hasn’t stopped Tech athletics, mainly Kirby Hocutt, from going after their guy i.e. Coach Beard and UNLV. Now I’m not saying Kittley is Beard by any means, but it’s worth a shot to go after a guy with Tech connections who has produced a great offense with far less talent and has play-calling experience. Would he be willing to leave WKU not even a week after agreeing to become their OC? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s worth a shot much like Harrell and Cumbie to a degree to try and bring a capable play-caller to the 806.


Again, these are my Top 5 names that I believe Texas Tech and Matt Wells should go after. We all know that during these coaching searches there are names that get little to no buzz that may end up getting the job. However, with the situation Tech is in and the current state of the program, Matt Wells and Texas Tech have to try to make as big of a splash as possible to get as much of the fan base back and interested.

I’m not sure when the announcement will be made, but with National Signing Day on Wednesday, December 16th, it needs to happen in the next 24-48 hours so you don’t keep recruits and the program at a standstill.

Agree or Disagree with any coaches on the list? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @GunsUpNation.

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