It’s been six days since Matt Wells was let go as the Head Coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Between the rumors, one person has stood out to me personally and most Red Raider Nation, including the search committee. Jeff Traylor, current Head Coach of the undefeated UTSA Roadrunners, is the best option to rebuild this football program.
There has been confirmation by many sources (including our very own Nick Coppola) that the search committee made a trip to San Antonio earlier in the week to interview Traylor. Nobody knows if there was a job offer attached to that meeting, but it got me researching Traylor’s past. I came to one conclusion: this program needs Jeff Traylor.
Traylor started his coaching career not as a GA somewhere as many NCAA Head Football Coaches and Coordinators did. He started a tiny then 1A (now 2A) school in East Texas. Big Sandy was in the smallest division of 11-Man football and hired Traylor out of college as an assistant. He moved up after four years to Jacksonville High School, where he implemented the offensive concepts you see today. Traylor finally got his shot to run his program in 2000 when he became the Head Coach of Gilmer High School, a small town just north of where his career began.
He turned a middle-of-the-road 3A program and turned it into a powerhouse. He missed the playoffs in his first season but never missed it after that. Traylor won State Championships in 2004, 2009, and 2014. He also made two other Championship games. Traylor also coached former Red Raider McLane Carter. He moved on and was an assistant at Texas, SMU, and Arkansas before earning the Head Coaching Job at UTSA.
Once there, Traylor turned UTSA into a nationally relevant program, something neither Kingbury nor Wells did at Texas Tech. I understand that he has never been a Head Coach at a Power 5 program. What Traylor has done is take programs to the next level. He took Gilmer, a decent high school program, and made them a State Powerhouse. Traylor has now taken UTSA from a cellar FBS team to a ranked program, a program that has a chance to play in an important bowl game!
Traylor has also been elite at recruiting the state of Texas, something that Matt Wells was never really able to do. Kirby Hocutt has said that he wants the next Head Coach of Texas Tech to recruit the state of Texas and that is exactly what Jeff Traylor has done at UTSA and even before he got to UTSA. Traylor won Big 12 Recruiter of the Year while at Texas in 2016.
He’s not only been able to recruit Texas, but Traylor has also been able to get elite talent from small schools in Texas, such as the ones he coached at early in his career. Places like Crockett, Humble, Stafford, Converse, and Edinburg. The entire Class of 2022 for UTSA so far is from Texas. Traylor has built solid recruiting classes in a place where it’s hard to do. Not only would he have more resources at Texas Tech, but Traylor would also have more money to hire better recruiters and assistants.
UTSA has been able to use its schemes to dominate opponents for the past two years. Offensively he runs something similar to what Texas Tech runs now. UTSA has more motion in their offense. Traylor likes a mobile quarterback, as UTSA runs a bunch of read-option/ run-pass-option plays. The two quarterbacks considered “next up” at Texas Tech are dual-threat guys.
Defensively, Texas Tech has run a weird hybrid defense that either loads the box too full that hurts pass defense or doesn’t put enough guys in the box to defend the run. This will hopefully change if Traylor takes charge. UTSA has rushed at least five on most plays this season and plays out of a 3-4 defense that features incredibly versatile outside linebackers. One of those outside linebackers is always rushing the quarterback, and the other often drops to play coverage.
In conclusion, Texas Tech shouldn’t get this hire wrong as Jeff Traylor fits the culture and mold of West Texas.
Who do you think should be the next Head Coach for the Red Raiders? Let us know in the comments and on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!