I-A College Football
             === Kliff is King in minds of Red Raider faithful ===
 By Frank Haynes, Senior College Football Editor
 Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Known more for its prominent role in the
 cotton industry, as well as being the hometown of the late, great Buddy Holly,
 Lubbock, Texas isn't exactly a hotbed in terms of noteworthy success in the
 world of sports.
 In fact, if you discount the efforts of the little known Lubbock Cotton Kings
 (Central Hockey League, 1999-2007) and the long defunct Lubbock Hubbers (minor
 league baseball, 1922-56), the 11th-most populous city in the Lone Star State
 can't claim much in terms of significant sporting glory at all.
 That is of course until you turn your attention to Texas Tech University, the
 sixth-largest institution of higher learning in the nation's second-biggest
 state, with roughly 32,000 students seeking a degree in more than 150 courses
 of study. Academic pursuits aside, student life at TTU typically revolves
 around the exploits of the Red Raider football program, at least since the
 start of the new millennium when former head coach Mike Leach implemented his
 high-flying offensive attack.
 Having played their first game on October 3, 1925, Texas Tech football teams
 have won 11 conference titles (none since 1994), and been invited to 35 bowl
 games (13-21-1). Despite the fact that the Red Raiders have only one Big 12
 South Division title to their credit (shared in 2008 with Oklahoma and Texas),
 they have been at the forefront of most college football fans' minds over the
 last decade or so thanks to the up-tempo style first put in place by Leach,
 and then continued, albeit to a lesser extent, by Tommy Tuberville.
 Having underachieved in the eyes of many Tech supporters, Tuberville's
 stunning decision to leave Lubbock after three seasons for Cincinnati this
 past December left the Red Raiders in a quandary, but one they quickly got
 past as they named 33-year old Kliff Kingsbury the 15th coach in program
 history less than a week later.
 A former star quarterback at Tech (1998-2002), Kingsbury is making his head
 coaching debut after serving as co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks
 coach at both Houston and Texas A&M the last four years. He has mentored
 former UH standout Case Keenum, and was instrumental in helping A&M's Johnny
 Manziel win the 2012 Heisman Trophy.
 During his collegiate playing days, Kingsbury was the first in a long line of
 record-setting gunslingers under the innovative Leach, throwing for more than
 12,000 yards with 95 touchdowns. He set nearly 40 school, 13 Big 12 and 7 NCAA
 records, and he is one of only four players in college football history to
 pass for more than 3,000 yards three times in his career.
 From a win-loss perspective, the Red Raiders were one of the most successful
 programs in the country with Leach calling the shots, but Tuberville's reign
 didn't produce the same results. The past two seasons have seen the Red
 Raiders stumble late, dropping five straight games to close the 2011 campaign,
 and four of their last five this past year. Tuberville failed to deliver a
 winning league ledger, and Red Raider nation is hoping Kingsbury is the man to
 bring about a resurgence.
 Kingsbury is grateful for the opportunity to lead his alma mater into the next
 chapter in its history and while he realizes there is a palpable air of
 excitement surrounding his return, he knows it's going to take a lot of hard
 work to ensure that those who have shown faith in him are not disappointed.
 "As far as the football goes, I'm more of a walking-type guy, not a talking-
 type guy. So I'll let you all see that in the fall", Kingsbury said at his
 introductory press conference.
 He continued, "It's going to be an exciting brand of football. We'll be
 attacking on both sides of the ball, we'll play with confidence. The kids are
 going to have fun. They're going to have swagger, and you'll enjoy next year's
 team. I promise you."
 Following his whirlwind courtship, assembling a top-notch staff, assessing the
 talent on the roster, and laying the groundwork for future success were his
 first orders of business.
 Like Leach did with him, developing quarterbacks appears to be the rookie head
 coach's forte, and it appears he has a pretty good one with which to work this
 fall as sophomore Michael Brewer has all the tools necessary to be the next
 great Red Raider signal caller. Competition will come from freshman Davis
 Webb, and the two combined to throw for 506 yards and 3 scores in Tech's
 spring game back in April.
 As former star quarterback Seth Doege's (4,205 yards, 39 TDs, 16
 interceptions) primary targets last season, Darrin Moore and Eric Ward
 combined to catch 174 passes for 2,085 yards and 25 touchdowns, but both are
 gone, leaving diminutive junior wideout Jakeem Grant (33 receptions, 287
 yards, 2 TDs) and junior tight end Jace Amaro (25 receptions, 409 yards, 4
 TDs) as the only proven pass catchers in what is expected to be an explosive,
 if rather inexperienced offense.
 Kingsbury's fate will be determined by a frenzied fan base that has lofty
 expectations for the prodigal son returning home, but the reality is it's
 going to take a few years before anyone will have a real handle on how well he
 has done.
 Despite the obvious state of exuberance that exists today, patience is the
 key. The prevailing thought is Tech fans will bite their collective tongue so
 long as progress is being made. Doing things the right way through hard work
 can get you pretty far in life, but whether or not the King has was it takes
 to effectively rule his kingdom remains to be seen, meaning his coronation
 won't be complete until his minions see for themselves.
 06/14 12:36:26 ET

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