Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said he did not slap graduate assistant coach Kevin Oliver, but apologized to Oliver and acknowledged he lost his cool and overreacted on the sideline during last Saturday's game.
"You don't do things like that," Tuberville said at his weekly press conference, according to KCBD.com.
On Saturday, Texas Tech had a 12th player on the field during a fourth-and-2 and was called for a penalty. Tuberville was upset at Oliver on the sideline. The extra player was a special teams player, and Oliver works with the special teams. Tuberville made a quick motion with his hand at Oliver, and Oliver's headset and hat were knocked off his head. Tuberville was adamant he did not slap Oliver. He did appear to snatch the headset off his head.
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The incident became a heated topic on social media before the game was even over, and when the game was done Tuberville said he was just trying to get Oliver off the field and that he just missed his shoulder and accidentally grabbed part of the headset. That explanation didn't make much sense at the time, and Tuberville must have realized it over the past two days.
MyFoxLubbock.com published Tuberville's full comments about the incident from the press conference:
"In the heat of the battle some things happen sometimes that you'd like to take back. I can't ever remember anything like that happening. But, uh, that's a tough game, you're fighting hard. I've apologized to Kevin. We've talked. Of course, we talked 30 seconds after that. I talk to him more on the headset than I do anybody else cause he helps me chart special teams.
"It's unfortunate that that happened. I've got kids of my own. I've got 100 kids on the sideline and coaches, I've got to hold myself to a higher regard...and usually do.
"But I will say this. Some have reported that I slapped or hit him, you're dead wrong. I did not do that. Little bit disappointed that most of you know me, I think you know me a lot better than that. I can understand someone in LA, California doing it, and making some kind of statement like that by watching the film. Never thought about it, in 35 years, never dreamed of hitting anybody, never have. And so...we'll just leave it at that."
While there is a distinction between slapping a coach and yanking the headset off his head in a fit of anger, neither is appropriate behavior for a head coach. But Tuberville took responsibility for his actions, apparently after a couple days of consideration, and he doesn't have the reputation of a hothead on the sideline. Reports from USA Today and CBS Sports said the Big 12 is reviewing the incident. While it was an ugly incident and the league might punish him for it, Tuberville appears to have genuine contrition over what happened, apologized and deserves to move on from it.
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