Texas Tech football: Matt Wells should want to get fired

Sep 14, 2019; Tucson, AZ, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach Matt Wells looks on before the game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 14, 2019; Tucson, AZ, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach Matt Wells looks on before the game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports /

Though it might seem counterintuitive, it would be in Matt Wells’ best interest to be fired by the Texas Tech football program.

Sometimes in a relationship, there comes a point when everyone knows it is best for both parties to go their separate ways.  And though we all know that the Texas Tech football program and Matt Wells certainly need to partake in a no-fault divorce, most have only thought about how the separation would benefit Tech.  But the truth is, Wells should have no reason to want to come back next season.

Most of us have been in a position to know when we aren’t wanted.  And when one finds themselves in such a situation, we can either fight like hell to stay around just to prove a point or we can leave with our head held high.  The latter option is the only right play for Wells.

However, he isn’t going to resign.  That would mean he would forfeit his $9 million buyout.  But he can and should refuse to give into Tech’s demands, which are rumored to be that he makes massive changes to his coaching staff, most specifically at offensive coordinator.  Doing so would likely result in his firing and the claiming of his buyout, which would set his family up rather nicely for years to come.

Wells isn’t dumb…despite what his in-game decisions might suggest.  He almost certainly knows how the Texas Tech football fan base and, more importantly, the program’s most influential boosters feel about him.

He also knows that even if he acquiesces and makes enough changes to satiate his bosses, he would begin next year on the hottest of seats.  That reality was enough to motivate former Red Raider head coach Tommy Tuberville to skip town in the middle of a recruiting dinner in 2012 to take the head coaching position at Cincinnati.

Now, Wells has come to a place where he’s threatening Tuberville’s claim to the title of most hated Texas Tech football coach since Jerry Moore.  But unlike Tuberville, he doesn’t have a soft landing spot lined up (that we know of).  However, $9 million could buy a truckload of pillows to cushion his fall.

There seems no scenario in which Wells and Texas Tech would be set up for success in 2021 should they remain in this loveless marriage.  There are rumors that several key players may enter the transfer portal should Wells return and given that after each of the last two games, one of the best players on the team (Zech McPhearson following the Oklahoma State loss and Erik Ezukanma following the Kansas loss) spoke critically of the coaching staff to the media, there’s no reason to think that those rumors are unfounded.

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What’s more, his recruiting does not suggest that an influx of talent is headed to the Hub City.  After all, Tech’s current recruiting class sits just at no. 70 nationally and second-to-last in the Big 12 with the early signing window opening up next week.

We also know that fan support will be at an all-time low next year should a new face not be under the headset on the home sidelines.  These days, it is hard to find a Wells supporter among the Texas Tech football populace and what’s more, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that we can survive a season without going to Jones Stadium so staying away for another fall wouldn’t be as difficult.

Also adding to the fact that next year is not set up for strong fan support if the program leadership remains as presently constituted is the home schedule.  2021 is the year that neither Texas, nor Oklahoma, nor Baylor, the three most intriguing (or hated) rivals on the schedule are set to come to Lubbock.  Neither will a decent non-conference opponent as Tech’s only intriguing out of conference game will be the season opener at Houston.  Thus, trying to fill Jones Stadium next year was already going to be a challenge even prior to the fan base’s revolt against the current regime.

In other words, there are about 9 million reasons for Wells to try to orchestrate his own firing this offseason and about 8,999,999 fewer reasons for him to return.  The only reason he may truly want to stay is the same reason that Kirby Hocutt entered this week trying to stave off a hostile takeover from those who, unlike he and Wells, have Texas Tech’s best interest in mind…ego.

No head coach wants to be fired.  It’s a sign of failure and every coach who has reached Wells’ level of notoriety has enough pride to want to succeed at his current job.  But it appears that isn’t in the cards for Wells.  Whether it is sometime this month or a year from now, or somewhere in between, the writing is on the wall that the end is quickly approaching.

Wells and Tech really never had a honeymoon.  He was never embraced by the fan base and in his third game on the job, his team was humbled by a bad Arizona team.  Since then, the vocal and significant portion of the fan base that has been skeptical of him has been proven right time and again.  Like a shotgun wedding at the country courthouse, this was an ill-conceived union and it is time to send Wells on his way.

Everyone knows it.  Even Matt Wells.  But what he also knows is that it isn’t wise to leave a divorce empty-handed.  Thus, it would be prudent for him to make certain he goes down with the ship and crew that he brought to town and that he is fired.  Should that happen as it now appears is more than likely, many would say that would be the only smart decision he ever made at Texas Tech.

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