By Ed McGranahan.
By Ed McGranahan
Two factors likely tilted Texas Tech toward Kliff Kingsbury and away from Chad Morris.
The most obvious was that Kingsbury was the hometown favorite. A Texas Tech quarterback who threw for more than 12,000 yards and 95 touchdowns before we knew Mike Leach was swashbuckling offensive genius.
Maybe the irony didn’t register or you erased from memory the 2002 Tangerine Bowl. Klingsbury completed 32 of 43 passes for 375 yards and three touchdowns in a 55-15 win over Clemson.
At age 33 with no experience as a head coach, it was still hard to ignore both the emotional connection and Klingsbury’s pedigree, which was enhanced this season when he helped nurture a freshman quarterback at Texas A&M who beat Alabama and won the Heisman Trophy.
The other factor could be that Texas Tech may not have been prepared to invest what Morris required.
As a high school coach in Texas, he was accustomed to the best. Lake Travis High had an indoor practice facility, for gosh sakes.
In exchange for helping put the Clemson offense on the map, he has seen up close what’s required to compete at the BCS level. Primo facilities and extensive support staff are how top programs dress.
Morris probably also required a substantial commitment to staff salaries, much like Dabo Swinney has done. Based on the numbers provided this year to USA Today, Texas Tech lags among Big 12 schools with Texas, Oklahoma, TCU and Oklahoma State far ahead.
Kingsbury’s predecessor, Tommy Tuberville, was paid $2.1 million, ninth among Big 12 head coach, and the total commitment to football coaches’ salaries was another $2 million, which was what Morris and Brent Venables make at Clemson.
Clemson’s athletic budget and Texas Tech’s aren’t dramatically different. A new TV agreement between the Big 12 and ESPN/ABC should generate $20 million for each league member next year, and Morris certainly knew that.
Texas Tech may not have been willing to go “all in.”
This thing with Morris doesn’t end here and may surface again sooner than later.
Supremely confident and ambitious, he intends to be a college head coach one day, and his standards won’t budge should an opportunity surface. His name will continue to mentioned when the top jobs open, creating angst among Clemson fans.
Swinney knows the drill and his plan is to move Jeff Scott into the coordinator’s job once Morris leaves, so patience is required at all levels.
That these things typically overlap the most critical time in recruiting and bowl preparation is unfortunate.
Brace yourself in case this isn’t over. What happens in few weeks if Chip Kelly leaves Oregon for an NFL job and Nike U lures Kevin Sumlin from Texas A&M?