It’s a video that will no doubt be an Internet hit among the college football crowd by the end of the day. During today’s game between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Kansas Jayhawks, Red Raiders head coach Tommy Tuberville slapped one of his assistant coaches. The sideline incident took place early in the third quarter of the Red Raiders’ win.
At the time the Red Raiders held a 21-17 lead and were preparing for a fourth down and about two yards when they were hit with a penalty for too many men on the field. Frustrated at a penalty that usually comes from lack of discipline or presence of mind on the part of the players on the field not to notice how many men they have on the field, Tuberville took his frustration out on a nearby assistant. Tuberville could be seen yelling at the assistant before slapping him on the head, knocking the assistant’s hat and headset off, and then continued to yell at the assistant.
To be fair, if I were coaching the Red Raiders today, I’d have plenty to be frustrated about considering the fact that this was a really close game for them right until the end, and it was against one of the worst teams in a major conference. And to be quite honest, the Red Raiders are better than how they played today.
The only reason this is even going to be a lingering issue, one that Tuberville will have to explain later today or tomorrow, is that it was caught on camera. If this incident had taken place and not been caught on camera it would still be a story, but the visual aid is what keeps stories alive longer than if there wasn’t one.
With the rumors circulating that the Auburn Tigers are looking to re-hire Tuberville, who resigned as football coach at that university after the 2008 season, this may end up becoming something more than it is because it could open Tuberville up to the scrutiny that comes with actions deemed over the line or extreme.
Personally, I don’t see this as something extreme or over the line. Rather, I see this as a momentary bit of frustration from a coach that saw a fourth down that the Red Raiders were going to go for during a close game turn into a fourth down that forced them to punt. I’ve watched Tuberville coach over the years and while he does have the intensity that Southern college football coaches need to have, this seems like an isolated incident instead of something more.