McGuire’s decisions at Texas Tech haven’t been flawless either
While there is no question that McGuire took over a struggling program, there are some areas where he has made his own mistakes. That might begin with his game-day philosophy.
McGuire’s complete devotion to analytics certainly is an area worth taking a look at. He has admitted that his coaching staff has a literal analytics book that they refer to during games to help determine how to proceed in key moments.
That’s a practice he learned under Matt Rhule while at Baylor and there is no question that the Bears had tremendous success during McGuire’s time in Waco. However, treating the analytics book as if it is gospel has led to some mixed results.
Sure, in 2022, Tech’s willingness to be aggressive on 4th down led to some massive victories, including the home win over Texas in what might be the Longhorns’ final visit to Lubbock in our lifetimes. That day, McGuire rolled the dice eight times on 4th down and his team came through with six conversions, including two in the fourth quarter.
That day, and on several others, the analytics have translated to wins. However, there have been plenty of other times when analytics has cost Tech dearly.
Most notable was the failed 4th-down gamble McGuire took at his team’s own 33 in this season’s 38-30 loss to Oregon. Gifting the Ducks a free three points turned out to be massive in a game that Tech trailed by only one point in the final minute of play.
Too often, decisions like that have seen McGuire put his team in awful situations and this program just doesn’t have the talent to overcome failed gambles by the head coach. What’s more, in 2023, some are questioning another gamble that McGuire has leaned into with all his might.
The hiring of offensive coordinator Zach Kittley was widely praised prior to the 2022 season. However, now, the Texas Tech alum is under fire from fans for the failings of this year’s offense, and rightly so.
Tech has repeatedly taken strange approaches to moving the ball such as using injury-prone QB Tyler Shough as a primary rushing option, asking a banged-up Behren Morton to throw the ball 37 times on a rainy day in West Virginia, or calling 28 second-half passing plays for true freshman Jake Strong in the second half of the K-State game instead of giving the ball to Tahj Brooks.
Was the inexperienced Kittley, who had only been an offensive coordinator at the FBS level for one season prior to joining McGuire’s staff, the right man to hand the keys of the offense to? Right now, there is no definite answer to that question but many believe McGuire’s choice was the wrong one.
Ultimately, McGuire is getting by on the strength of what Red Raider fans think he could become as a head coach. He has won over his constituency with his energy and passion while also recruiting at a level that this program has not seen in the modern era.
Still, the results have not been there yet and that’s starting to frustrate those who live and die with Texas Tech football. Without question, more is expected of McGuire than an 11-10 record and if he doesn’t start to pick up the pace, the natives will go from being restless to being on the warpath.