Texas Tech has reportedly fired head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
"I'm hearing from a reliable source that Kliff Kingsbury is out at Texas Tech," Joe Reinagel of KENS 5 tweeted on Saturday, shortly after the Red Raiders lost to Baylor in the regular-season finale.
The reported dismissal comes two days after Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statemen tweeted that Texas Tech "will look seriously" at Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables.
If Texas Tech doesn't hire Brent Venables, Seth Littrell, Neal Brown or another well-circulated name, who might they target?
Some potential candidates:
Current Position: Defensive Coordinator – Texas A&M
Kingsbury was fired because his defenses sucked.
If Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt wants a defensive coach and can't get Brent Venables — if that report is true — might he target another highly regarded coordinator in 42-year-old Mike Elko?
Mike Elko's coaching stock has skyrocketed since Brian Kelly poached him from Wake Forest last year. He was an FCS coordinator (Hofstra) just 10 years ago.
Current Position: Defensive Coordinator – Oregon
Jim Leavitt is interested in another head-coaching opportunity. The former USF head coach has rebuilt his image and coaching stock with a strong two-year run at Colorado and decent two-year run at Oregon.
At 61 years old, he's on the older side, but after the (mostly) failure-filled Kingsbury experiment, they might want someone with four decades of experience instead of an up-and-comer.
One potential problem: Leavitt faced player mistreatment allegations at USF. Do they want to go down that road again?
Current Position: Defensive Coordinator – Georgia
Notice a theme?
Mel Tucker has never coached in Texas — and hasn't coached at programs that have spent much time in the state — but, at 46 years old, he's an age compromise, has been a Power Five and NFL coordinator and has spent the last four years under Nick Saban and Kirby Smart.
He reportedly had two interviews at Tennessee last year.
Current Position: Offensive Assistant – Los Angeles Rams
Jedd Fisch, 42, was Miami (FL) offensive coordinator while Hocutt was athletics director in Coral Gables.
He doesn't have head-coaching experience (only two games as UCLA interim head coach last year) and has never coached college football in Texas, but is a highly respected offensive mind and could assemble a strong staff.
Current Position: Offensive Coordinator – TCU
Sonny Cumbie is 2012 Kliff Kingsbury: 30-something, Texas native, former Red Raiders' quarterback, current Big 12 offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
It seems unlikely Texas Tech would hire the same type of coach, but if they're more interested in a new messenger than a completely new philosophy, Cumbie, a former Red Raiders' assistant, could get a call.