Sonny Cumbie takes reins at Texas Tech against No. 4 Oklahoma

Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley knows a bit about what Sonny Cumbie is going through this week.When Mike Leach, Riley’s mentor, was fired by Texas Tech in December 2009 just a few days before the Red Raiders were to play in the Alamo Bowl, Riley had to collect himself quickly. Riley was elevated to offensive coordinator for that game, calling plays for the first time.Now Cumbie, who was a graduate assistant back then for the Red Raiders, will make his head coaching debut against the No. 4 Sooners when Texas Tech visits Oklahoma on Saturday.Cumbie was named the Red Raiders’ interim coach Monday after Matt Wells was fired in the middle of his third season at the helm.Cumbie returned to his alma mater this season after spending seven seasons as an assistant coach at TCU.The Red Raiders (5-3, 2-3 Big 12) have dropped three of their last five, including a 25-24 home loss to Kansas State last week where they were held scoreless after halftime.”It’s very unfortunate, the circumstances,” Cumbie said. “We had no control over that other than you feel like you let Coach Wells down in terms of not winning enough games or playing well enough on offense.”That’s our job right now is to lead them as well as we can, make the most of every situation that comes our way.”Right now, Riley’s Sooners (8-0, 5-0) are the first step in front of Texas Tech.Oklahoma is 8-0 for the first time since 2004, but there are plenty of questions swirling around the team, especially after last week’s closer-than-expected 35-23 win over Kansas in a game the Sooners were trailing in the fourth quarter.Early in the season, Riley insisted Oklahoma was close to breaking through offensively when that group struggled and needed the defense to lead the way.Now, it’s the defense that has struggled in recent weeks — especially when it comes to getting a push up front and in coverage.