Kirby Hocutt playing search close to the vest

Red Raiders athletic director Kirby Hocutt answers questions from the press before the game against the Baylor Bears at United Supermarkets Arena.Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Red Raider followers left to guess about next football coach.

Texas Tech’s coaching search has produced a handful of names through its first 48 hours.

There’s not going to be a lot of official information distributed from Red Raiders athletic director Kirby Hocutt. So we have to read between the lines and that means paying as much attention to what’s not being said along with what is stated.

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, a former teammate and friend of Hocutt, has been mentioned as a candidate. But Venables said on Monday that he’s intent on sticking with Clemson, where his son is currently playing for the Tigers.

Another name that came out on Sunday was West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. While some reports have come out stating that Texas Tech is not pursuing Holgorsen, the fact that he hasn’t publicly shot down that idea seems important.

Three more names on the list are Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt, Utah State coach Matt Wells and Memphis coach Mike Norvell. The common trait among this trio is that they’ve all raised the level of programs where they’ve been head coaches.

The Red Raiders went the innovative route when it hired Kliff Kingsbury, who had not been a head coach before taking over at Texas Tech in 2013. But it took him a while to grasp program running and ultimately couldn’t show steady progress.

It’s also interesting that Norvell, who has been at Memphis for three years, has been mentioned, but not North Texas’s Seth Litrell. While Norvell is 26-12 in three seasons at Memphis with wins over ranked UCLA and Navy teams, Litrell is 23-16 in three seasons at UNT with wins over SMU and Arkansas this fall.