TEMPE, Ariz. — There may not be much familiarity between ASU and Texas Tech, but there is plenty of familiarity about ASU and Texas Tech, at least by one individual in particular.
See, this time a year ago, Sun Devils offensive line coach Chris Thomsen was getting Texas Tech ready to play Minnesota in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
Weeks earlier, Thomsen had been named interim head coach, replacing Tommy Tuberville who had accepted the job at Cincinnati.
“Really good group, much like our group here,” Thomsen said looking back on his time in Lubbock. “When you got those kind of guys it makes your job easier. That’s what I remember; just strong senior leadership helped us through that.”
They did more than just get through that difficult transition. They won. Texas Tech defeated Minnesota 34-31.
Fast forward one year and Thomsen now finds himself lined up across from many of those same players he once shared the sideline with.
ASU (10-3) plays Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl on Monday, December 30; the two school’s first meeting since 1999 and only the second-ever in the modern era.
“Great resource,” head coach Todd Graham said of his first-year offensive line coach. “He knows them very well. He has great things to say about their personnel. Obviously knows their offensive guys extremely well. He’s been a good resource for us.”
Just how much assistance can Thomsen give?
“From a personnel standpoint, you’ve been around guys. You know what they’re about,” he said. “There’s some guys on that team that you definitely have to try to take away that can beat you. I’ve seen Jace Amaro, the tight end (unanimous first-team All-American) who in my mind is a first-round draft pick, single-handedly beat people. He’s a special player.
“Probably from a personnel standpoint more than anything, because what’s on film schematically you can see that.”
With Thomsen, Texas Tech went 8-5 last season. This season he stands in their way of a second straight eight-win campaign.
“It’s going to be fun seeing those guys,” he said. “It’ll be fun to compete against them.”