The Texas offense will be better in the next season due to the departure of offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin and his manic, almost bi-polar play selection. Major Applewhite remains Co-Offensive Coordinator, but will now share the role with wide receivers coach Darrell Wyatt. What will make 2013 better than 2012 is that Major Applewhite will be doing what he should have been doing for the last two seasons: calling plays and coaching quarterbacks.
The Alamo Bowl is a small sampling to draw conclusions from, however, it showed that Applewhite has the ability to maximize the talent on offense. He crafted roles for guys based on their unique skill sets. Absent from the Alamo Bowl was Harsin’s dogged insistence on forcing round pegs into square holes. Applewhite didn’t try to outsmart anyone; no mass substitutions, no multiple shifting at the line of scrimmage, no trickery. The game plan wasn’t perfect, but it showed one key element that seemed absent for much of the past two seasons: the ability to adjust when the original plan wasn’t working.
Simply put, Harsin wasn’t a good fit at Texas. The players didn’t respond to him. They didn’t relate to him. Harsin wasn’t a Texas guy. Major Applewhite is Texas. Every recruit in the Southwest knows the name. Their mothers and fathers remember the Big XII Championship game and the Holiday Bowl. Applewhite has the infamous “It” factor that Harsin lacked.
Please don’t get me wrong… I don’t think the 2013 season will be all sunshine and rainbows, but we will see a more cohesive team. We will see more discipline. We will see more accountability. We will see more heart. The old saying, “Attitude reflects leadership” certainly applies here. I don’t see this next iteration of Longhorn football cowering to Oklahoma or self-destructing against West Virginia.
I heard Trent Dilfer last week discussing the Harbaugh brothers and he said, “they get the most from the least and the best from the best.” This immediately made me think of Applewhite’s Alamo Bowl press conference quote when asked about the differences between his offense and Harsin’s. He replied, “…I’ve always felt like even as a player this game is about players, put [the ball] in the best guys’ hands and let them make plays. I think sometimes we over think it a little bit as coaches, so I’m excited to watch these guys go play.”
I’m excited to watch these guys go play as well.
Watch this video below and it will give you a taste of what the players think of Applewhite:
OK. I do not want Coach Davis to drive up to the Moncrief-Neuhaus Athletic Center and unpack his things. I do however want us to think of the concepts that Greg Davis learned on the job to help Texas make an impressive run to unprecedented glory on the 40 acres.
We saw how the offense sputtered around in the first half of the Valero Alamo Bowl until something clicked to help propel the Longhorns to a 31-27 win. What clicked? Something that Coach Davis learned when installing the spread offense. You need to have a threat at the quarterback position. Look at what is happening to the teams in the Big XII, A&M, Oregon, Ohio State and even the NFL. Coaches across the country are realizing that you need the quarterback to be a threat to run and throw. College kids want to know that they have a chance to go to the next level. Look at the success that the Redskins and Seahawks in the NFL are having with rookie quarterbacks that can run. You cannot have a QB that is destined to run every play, but you do want one that is mobile in the pocket and can be a “threat” to run to make defenses think.
One of Greg Davis’ faults was the thinking that Texas can out talent the opponent no matter the scheme. Bryan Harsin brought the schematic and creative advantages that the UT offense needed. Unfortunately, Coach Harsin fell in love with only certain plays for certain players where the offensive packages were more important than the talent that was out there. The SEC offenses (specifically Bama) which is what Mack Brown wants to emulate with a grind it out running game that does not rely on the quarterback to win the game is no longer viable. Look at how Louisville with its dynamic quarterback put it on Florida in the Sugar Bowl. And who single handily brought down Alabama in their own back yard, but Johnny Football. Look at what Nick Saban said about the no huddle offense before he ran into the Heisman Trophy winner which is predominantly lead by a fast break quarterback.
Greg Davis used the threat of a running quarterback with a wide open passing attack which opened up lanes for the running backs. In case you forgot, we have had individual 1,000 yard rushers while Davis was calling the plays. No Longhorn running back has yet to reach over 780 yards rushing in the past three years under the so called smash mouth running game (OL needs to share in some of the blame). My prediction is that Johnathan Gray will be the next 1,000 yard rusher to join the last back to do that Jamaal Charles. (2007 – 1,619 yds.)
Where can you find these dual threat quarterbacks? Right here in our back yard. Quarterbacks in high school have 7 on 7 tournaments to hone their skill of reading coverages and making quick decisions in the passing game. The best athletes on the field are playing quarterback in Texas. Hell, Texas is the only state in the country that has a dedicated class time assigned to a sport or PE. Dual threat quarterbacks are being used in every type of classification in the sport. Why do you want to recruit a care taker at quarterback when you need something dynamic to keep stronger and faster defenses guessing? We have dual threat quarterbacks on campus and more are coming up through recruiting. David Ash used his legs to jump start the offense in the bowl game and that running helped him open up the passing game.
Major Applewhite may hold the key to the concepts that Coach Davis used while at UT. Coach Applewhite had a great quote after the bowl win when he said that it is not about the X’s and O’s but about the culture of our program and keeping people accountable to be successful. I beg that Coach Brown will let Major carry out his plan on offense. I venture to guess that Major will use this quote from Michael Jordan to the team this offseason, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”
A statement from Mack Brown on the death of Texas head coach and legend Darrell Royal:
“Today is a very sad day. I lost a wonderful friend, a mentor, a confidant and my hero. College football lost maybe its best ever and the world lost a great man. I can hardly put in words how much Coach Royal means to me and all that he has done for me and my family. I wouldn’t even be at Texas without Coach. His council and friendship meant a lot to me before I came to Texas, but it’s been my guiding light for my 15 years here.
“Coach gave so much more to the State of Texas and college football than he took away. He forgot more football than most of us will ever know, including me. His impact on the game, the coaches and players, the community and the millions of lives he touched, is insurmountable. He will be missed in so many ways.
“I lost my Dad when I was 54, and Coach filled a real void in my life and treated me like family. Sally and I gained a lot coming to Texas and being a part of this tremendous program but no more than our relationship with Coach and Edith. They were our closest of friends. Our heart pours out to Edith and the family and our thoughts and prayers are with her and the family. We will always be there to lend any and all support that we can as she and Coach always did for us.”
The University of Texas has confirmed that legendary Longhorns head coach Darrell Royal has passed away at the age of 88. Royal is Texas’ all-time winningest coach and led the Horns to three national championships (1963, 1969, and 1970) and won 11 Southwest Conference championships.
I was lucky enough to meet Coach Royal on several occasions while at UT through the Terry Foundation. He was one of three people who interviewed me for the scholarship and being able to talk with him about football and growing up a coach’s son was an incredible moment.
It’s a sad day for Texas fans. RIP Coach.
You will not see the normal WTH article this week from the Red River Rivalry because there was nothing good to report. After being annihilated for the second straight year from your biggest rival, it’s a reminder of where the program stands.
The players and coaches talk about needing to get to work. Mack Brown said that I know what is wrong and I am the man to fix it. Unfortunately, we have been down this road before and the culture is not in place for this to be fixed. Sure the Horns can rally from this huge let down and win a couple of more games but the underlying problem is still there.
The problem is the culture that has been established on the 40 acres. Fans enjoy hearing how recruit after recruit say that they love the family atmosphere that Mack Brown delivers. Many coaches say that you have to de-recruit the player when you get the kid on campus. The UT staff may want to rethink how they de-recruit a player. A high school kid feels like he has already made it when he sees the facilities, the opportunities playing in front of so many people, and the fact that they are on television all the time not to mention that the LHN is there to record their every move. It is very hard for a head coach to legislate the discipline when times are tough while the team sees the head coach as more of a father figure. The last time Coach Brown, who is 61 years old, unloaded on his team and the staff, he had his first losing season and lost most of his coaches.
When Texas has won conference titles, the leadership has come from the players (McCoy & Young) themselves. Florida, Oklahoma and Alabama take their direction from their head coach. You will get a Tebow and a Bradford that will step up and take a lead role, but you know that Urban Meyer and Bob Stoops have their finger prints on their teams. Players and coaches take the identity of their head coach. Right now the identity Mack Brown exudes is an exhausted, questioning and apologetic leader.
Thanks for following my WTH articles throughout the season. I appreciate the opportunity to rant about the greatest University sports program in the country. You can continue to follow comments on all of UT sports on twitter at @40AcresSports or follow me at @Horns1991. HOOK EM!!
Well it’s official. Maybe. Texas coach [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] has finally released an official statement. From the Dallas Morning News…
Muschamp clarified his intentions Wednesday night.
“I’m happy at Texas and plan to be here for a long time,” Muschamp said through a Texas football spokesman.
He added that he has not interviewed for any other jobs nor does he have intention to do so.
While Muschamp did not address any specific rumors or schools, his name has surfaced most recently at Tennessee after Lane Kiffin was hired at Southern California.
Previous Muschamp to Tennessee updates
It’s been a wild day.
This morning everyone’s sources within UT were 100% confident that Texas defensive coordinator [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] wasn’t going anywhere. That was the story for most of the day. Orangebloods, Inside Texas, and the Statesman all spoke to multiple sources in the am and there appeared to be no issue, no smoke, and no chance the Horns would lose their big name coordinator.
But the official confirmation never came.
As the day wore on it became more and more troubling that the University had not made an announcement about Muschamp. Nothing official was coming out of Belmont. And coaches of high school recruits were reporting they hadn’t heard any status updates either. What in the world was going on?
Will Muschamp had flown to Knoxville at 5:45 am to meet with Tennessee. Say what?
From about 4 pm until 7 pm that’s all we heard. Everything from the morning seemed false. Not only was this a big name school who was interested in him, but Muschamp had actually already met with them in person. And no one’s sources had said anything about it. Three hours with no new news. That’s not good.
Finally around 7 pm IT editor Ross Lucksinger tweets that, yes, Muschamp did meet with the little UT this morning but two sources have told him that Coach Boom turned down their $3 million offer and is staying at Texas. A Knoxville radio station reports the same and that the Vols are moving on in their coaching search.
And finally, the saga comes full circle and all the news is once again that Muschamp is saying and more importantly the Texas staff is calling up recruits to tell them. Orangebloods and Inside Texas are now both reporting that recruits are starting to hear from the staff that Coach Muschamp isn’t going anywhere. Whew.
That’s all we know. And I’m not even sure how much we know is true. If/when Texas finally makes an official we’ll keep you in the loop.
Update: According to Muschamp himself, reports of him interviewing with Tennessee or any other team are false. He’s happy at Texas. (10:44 pm)
Update: Will Muschamp says he didn’t interview with anyone and he’s happy at Texas. More info. (10:31 pm)
Wow. The college football coaching dominoes fall fast.
Saturday word broke that the Seattle Seahawks would hire USC’s Pete Carroll as their new head coach. Yesterday evening, instead of hiring Jeff Fisher or Jack Del Rio the Trojans bring in the
obnoxious controversial Lane Kiffin after only one year at Tennessee. That started “riots” in Knoxville.
Are riots in Austin next?
According to Volquest.com, Texas defensive coordinator [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] is at the top of Tennessee’s wishlist and they have reportedly already offered him the position. Muschamp is one of the two highest paid coordinators in the country and has been named Texas’ head coach-in-waiting, but head coach [tag]Mack Brown[/tag] just signed another contract extension and looks like he could be at Texas for several more seasons. Muschamp also does not have a buyout in his contract, meaning it would cost Tennessee nothing beyond his salary to get him out of Austin.
Muschamp has repeatedly stated that how much he loves Texas and loves Austin and that he intends to stay the defensive coordinator for the Longhorns until it’s his turn. But things change. Is the opportunity to be the head coach of an SEC power too good to pass up?
Both Geoff Ketchum of Orangebloods.com and the Statesman’s Suzanne Halliburton have reported last night and this morning that every source at Texas they talk to says Muschamp is saying. The one person no one has talked to is Muschamp himself.
I don’t expect the Muschamp rumors to last past today, this thing is going to go down fast. Either the school will make an announcement he’s staying (and probably a raise) or we’ll find out he’s gone. We’ll have more news when we hear it.
Update: InsideTexas.com now also reporting more sources saying Muschamp will turn down the Vols. (10:54 am)
Update: News has taken a turn for the worse. Seems once confident sources are now unsure what is going to happen. (4:40 pm)
Update: Will Muschamp flew to Knoxville this morning to meet with Tennessee. He reportedly turns down a $3 mil offer. More info. (8:30 pm)
Update: Finally. Will Muschamp says he’s happy and he’s staying at Texas. (10:31 pm)
ESPN is reporting the USC Trojans’ head coach Pete Carroll and the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks have reached an agreement in principle to make Carroll their next head coach. He may also become team president and have control over personnel decisions. This could be big for the Longhorns as top defensive end recruit Jackson Jeffcoat, who is believed to be deciding between Texas, Oklahoma, and USC.
I believe coaches tell players that they have 24 hours to celebrate a victory or mourn a loss. One of the reasons is to not let the past affect the future. Sometimes coaches forget to follow their own rules and let the past determine their future.
We as Longhorn fans need to be reminded how lucky we are to have a coach like [tag]Mack Brown[/tag] for many reasons that do not have to do with X’s and O’s. The way that Mack handles the media and the fans after a loss tells a lot more about the person than letting one game define who you are as a coach. One of the most telling stats that refer to the teams that Mack coaches is that they are 12-0 against the next opponent after the OU game no matter win or lose. He uses this moment to teach kids how to treat the ups and downs that come at you.
This was not the case after the Big XII championship game for [tag]Nebraska[/tag] coach Bo Pelini or his defensive coach/brother Carl Pelini. An article from the Omaha World Herald titled “Heartbreaker’s haze sees anger and confusion” describes a wild, emotional scene after the game.
Carl Pelini after marching off the field decided to yell to the Longhorns “You should be ashamed of accepting the trophy!” Bo screamed “BCS!” when entering into the locker room. “That’s why they make the call!” Does that comment seem eerily similar from a former Big XII coach that is no longer in Kansas anymore? The attitude of the last seconds can be understandable, but I think the reaction by Bo shows the frustration should not be directed to the referees, replay booth, Big XII or the Longhorns since his team brought some of this upon themselves. The frustration of not getting the time call at the end game was an easy target for Bo instead of the kickoff that went out of bounds or the horse collar tackle all by his own players that allowed the Horns to get into field goal position for the winning kick. It is ironic that a very similar time situation with somewhat different results happened this year on October 17th between USC and Notre Dame in South Bend. This Big XII Championship was not the first time a replay was used to check out the play clock.
Coaches tell players when they score a touchdown to “act like you’ve been there before” instead of celebrating like it is New Years Day. Some coaches need to listen to their own advice after a game win or lose. Your character is on display during wins and losses. Wins will continue to be the norm for Nebraska because Bo Pelini is a good coach. The character that Mack displays after a game helps the team for its next challenge. Let’s hope that Bo learns a little from him so his teams will continue to be successful at every challenge.