Players support Ruffin McNeill as next coach

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD)- Last week, NewsChannel 11 Sports told you Texas Tech President Guy Bailey met with the football team and gave them an e-mail address where they could let their opinion be known on who they want to be their next coach. After Saturday's performance, it was clear who's name will be on all of those e-mails - Ruffin McNeill.

As the Red Raiders walked out on the field for Saturday night's Alamo Bowl, they were arm in arm, sending a strong, unified message to Texas Tech's administration. "Everybody wants Ruff to be our next head coach. That was us just kind of showing that, just showing unity; that there's no divisiveness amongst the team or the coaches within Tech football. We fully support Coach Ruff and we're ready to run through a brick wall for him," said running back Barron Batch.

"This was the most challenging week I've had in my 29 years of coaching.  It was a fun challenge though.  Make sure you understand that.  It was fun.  It was challenging but it was fun.  And this was the most rewarding night of my coaching career," said interim coach Ruffin McNeill.

Immediately after beating Michigan State 41 to 31 the players started campaigning. "Head Coach. Head Coach! We want Ruff!  We want Ruff!  We want Ruff!"

When everything started unraveling this week with mike leach, it was Ruffin McNeill who was the glue for this team. "It was really remarkable to see how Coach Ruff over here held us together. You know, this entire team could have given up, and not really cared because nobody would have blamed us if we lost with the distractions and how crazy it was this week. But it was crazy to see how well Coach Ruff kept this entire team focused and kept us together. The Lord really put his hand on us this week and one hand was from God and the other was Coach Ruff, I think," said quarterback Taylor Potts.

"Ruff handled it great. Great might be an understatement. He did an amazing job with the team and I'd love nothing more than to have him be our next coach," added Batch.

"Our administration will do what they think is best for Texas Tech. I have to admit I love Texas Tech and what it's about what it stands for.  And I would be honored to be their head coach," said McNeill.

McNeill is supposed to meet with the Tech administration on Monday about the head coaching job. He's worked his way up the ladder and if he does take over, he and the current coaching staff can renovate the football foundation that Leach built.

Coach Leach told NewsChannel 11's Pete Christy he did watch parts of the Alamo Bowl on Saturday, and here's what the players had to say afterwards about the head pirate starting with a reality check message to Red Raider fans from Baron Batch.

"I think the best thing for Tech fans is just to move on.  I think, I looked up into the stands and I saw 'Team Leach' and 'Bring Back Leach'.  Leach ain't coming back, that's how it is. We got what we got.  We got the players that we got. We got the coach that we got, and that's how it is. I think the best thing right now is to just move on and understand that we are still a really, really good football team," said Batch.

"I mean, I'm sorry that it happened. That's part of coaching. You can be a part of coaching today and won't be here tomorrow. No days are ever permanent. So I'm sure he won't have any problems finding a job," said Jamar Wall.

"You know, I haven't had the best past with Coach Leach, and I'm not gonna say anything negative. I do respect him. I do think he's a great coach. I do think the people we had out on the field today were the best for us," said Brandon Carter.

"He gave me my first, and offered me my first opportunity to play at this level.   And so I'm forever grateful for that.  The kind of coach he was to me and what he taught me was wonderful," said Taylor Potts.

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