The Texas Tech search has driven significant interest since Kliff Kingsbury was fired on Sunday, due in large part to two reasons. First, it’s a light year on the market. Second, much like Georgia Tech, Texas Tech finds itself at a schematic crossroads, where the Red Raiders can double down on the Air Raid or make a clean break from the scheme that has defined the program for nearly two decades now.
This has been Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt’s search to turn, which isn’t a surprise given Hocutt’s “hand in the dirt” experience as a former Kansas State linebacker.
At this point, all signs point to Utah State head coach Matt Wells being Hocutt’s top choice. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal‘s Don Williams tweeted Wednesday that Wells was the leader in the clubhouse.
A source connected to Texas Tech tells me that Utah State coach Matt Wells "is the leader right now" to succeed Kliff Kingsbury as coach of the Red Raiders.
— Don Williams (@AJ_DonWilliams) November 28, 2018
On Thursday, the NBC affiliate in Lubbock reported Hocutt was in negotiations with Wells.
#BREAKING SPORTS: Reliable Sources tell KCBD Sports Kirby Hocutt is in current negotiations to hire Utah State University’s Matt Wells to be the Texas Tech football head coach. https://t.co/x66RzW7Hct
— KCBD NewsChannel11 (@KCBD11) November 29, 2018
The other candidate mentioned for the job has been Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt, Hocutt’s former position coach at K-State. However, sources said the feel was that Wells was the leader — which tracks with what other outlets are reporting.
Wells, in his sixth season at Utah State, is 44-34 with two 10-win seasons, including this year. Though he has no previous ties to Texas Tech or Hocutt, his experience recruiting to Logan, Utah, is applicable to recruiting to Lubbock, and he’s proven a keen eye for coaching talent, counting Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando and UCF head coach Josh Heupel among his coordinator hires.
There was another report that North Texas head coach Seth Littrell, a former Mike Leach assistant, was set to interview Thursday, but we’re told that’s not the case.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.