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December 28, 2012

Texas Tech isn’t distracted by coaching change

HOUSTON — Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege has seen this before.

The Red Raiders head into Friday’s Meineke Car Care Bowl against Minnesota after some serious upheaval with coach Tommy Tuberville abruptly leaving the team for the job in Cincinnati. Doege, a senior, remembers how the team came together for a win in the Alamo Bowl under an interim coach just days after coach Mike Leach was fired in the 2009 season.

The Red Raiders have hired Kliff Kingsbury to replace Tuberville, but interim coach Chris Thomsen will lead Texas Tech against the Golden Gophers.

“It’s settled now, and the young guys are excited. I remember ... when I was younger how close we became as a football team,” Doege said. “Because with all the uncertainty, all the distractions, that’s what gets you through it.”

Thomsen, who coached the offensive line before becoming the interim head coach, said he believes his team has dealt with the changes and is ready to move forward.

“It’s really just business as usual for us,” Thomsen said. “The great thing about this team, the staple of this team, has been leadership all year, and we define leadership as guys who come out every single day focused and do it. If you can do that, you can lead as a freshman, sophomore, senior; it doesn’t matter. And that’s really the way they’ve approached it.”

Minnesota coach Jerry Kill doesn’t expect any drop off for the Red Raiders with Tuberville’s departure.

“I don’t think a whole lot is going to change with them,” Kill said. “Their system, offensively all the way back to coach Leach, has stayed the same, pretty much ... they’ve got good football players, a good system, and I know they’ll be prepared to play.”

Texas Tech returns to a bowl game after seeing an 18-year bowl streak snapped with last season’s disappointing 5-7 finish. This is their fourth straight bowl game in Texas and their eighth since 2000. They’ve won their last two bowl games.

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