Back in 2004, Sonny Cumbie pulled off a shocking upset. As a senior for the Texas Tech football program, he defeated 5-star recruit and JUCO transfer Robert Johnson for the starting quarterback job, a result that was a surprise to many Red Raider fans and an infuriation to many more who had already built up Johnson as the savior of the program.
But of course, Cumbie made the most of his opportunity by passing for 4,742 yards and 32 TDs with 18 picks while leading the Red Raiders to a Holiday Bowl win over Aaron Rogers and the No. 4 Cal Golden Bears.
Now, he’s back for his third overall stint with Tech, the second as offensive coordinator, and many are looking to Cumbie to save the day himself.
There’s no denying that the Texas Tech offense has been a disappointment since the days of the Pat Mahomes era. In fact, Tech has ranked just No. 19.2 in the nation in total offense in the four years since Pat Mahomes left for the NFL.
While that might not seem too bad, consider that Tech’s average offensive ranking in the four years from 2013-16 was No. 5.2 in the nation. In each of those four years, the Red Raiders were ranked in the top 10 nationally. Since then, the highest the Red Raiders have been ranked has been No. 11.
And last season, the Red Raider offense was arguably the worst it has been since the first year of the “Air Raid” era, 2000. Tech put up just 29.1 points per game to rank 57th in the nation in scoring and their 429.5 yards per game were good for just 39th overall.
That’s why Sonny Cumbie is in place as the new offensive coordinator. To resurrect the portion of the program that for years has been its identity.
Some say that his hiring was as much a move to placate an angry fanbase foaming at the mouth for some type of change. But while most of those fans were calling for that change to be at the head coaching position, AD Kirby Hocutt and his embattled head coach Matt Wells are banking on Cumbie to not only bring the fun back to the Red Raider offense but to also bring back the familiar comfort of having a home-grown Red Raider in a position of leadership.
Make no mistake, this season will hinge on what Cumbie is able to do with this year’s offense. And he’ll have to do it on the fly as he’ll be breaking in a new starting QB in Tyler Shough.
So let’s break down what the Texas Tech offense should be able to accomplish this season. Here are five goals for the Red Raiders to try to achieve in 2021.