Posted January 16th, 2014 by Brian
Filed under: Football

Watch coach Charlie Strong as he introduces his newly completed Texas coaching staff and answers questions about he’s going to run things:

Love listening to Coach Strong doing the Q&A sessions. His passion and football IQ are clear and contagious. Kids are going to love playing for this guy.

See an overview on the new coaches here if you want to find out who these guys are.

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Posted January 15th, 2014 by Brian
Filed under: Football

Being reported by multiple sites but not confirmed yet, but it appears that Mississippi State offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Les Koenning will be the next wide receivers coach for the Longhorns. Koenning’s hire would confirm that former WR coach Darrell Wyatt will not be returning.

Koenning played at Texas as a wide receiver from 1977-1980 and started his coaching career with the Longhorns in 1981. Prior to being at Mississippi State, he was the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M under head coach Dennis Franchione from 2003-2007.

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Posted January 13th, 2014 by Brian
Filed under: Football

A week into the Charlie Strong era and we’re finally starting to learn what the next coaching staff at Texas will look like. We’ve known the names of the defensive coordinator (Vance Bedford) and linebackers coach (Brian Jean-Mary) for a while now but that’s it. Over the weekend, through a series of tweets and leaks from a team meeting almost the entire staff is now known. Huge questions remain about offensive coordinator, but here’s how the Texas coaching staff looks as of today:

Head coach: Charlie Strong

Offensive coordinator/offensive line: Joe Wickline
In the conversation as the best offensive line coach in college football, Wickline is a guy Mack Brown tried to lure away from Oklahoma State a few years ago but Strong got the job done. Someone Texas fans will love to watch coach on the Longhorn Network, Wickline could mean we finally see a Texas offensive line capable of imposing their will in the trenches. At his introductory press conference Strong confirmed that Wickline would be the team’s offensive coordinator and call plays, something he has not done in the past.

Quarterback: Shawn Watson
A lot of consternation from Longhorn fans when Watson was thought to be the next OC but at the team meeting he was introduced as only the team’s quarterbacks coach. Watson was most recently the offensive coordinator at Louisville with Strong after stints at Colorado and Nebraska.

Running backs: Tommie Robinson
The USC running backs coach is a big hire. Robinson has NFL and college experience and also has a lot of experience in Texas as he spent time at TCU, Oklahoma State, and with the Dallas Cowboys.

Wide receivers: Les Koenning
Mississippi State OC/QB coach who played at Texas as a wide receiver from 1977-1980. Has done stints as an wide receivers coach, QB coach, and offensive coordinator at Texas, TCU, Alabama, Houston, Rice, and in the NFL. Prior to being at Mississippi State, he was the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M under head coach Dennis Franchione from 2003-2007.

Tight ends: Bruce Chambers (?)
A Texas coach since Mack Brown’s first season, Chambers will be on the Texas staff in some fashion. It was originally believed that he would stay on as tight ends coach but recent rumors are that Chambers’ role may transition to recruiting only.

Defensive coordinator: Vance Bedford
A two-time All-Southwest Conference player as Texas defensive back, Bedford is coming home after nearly 30 years as a coach. Bedford was at Florida and Louisville with Strong and will be a “walk around” defensive coordinator and will not be responsible for a specific position.

Defensive line: Chris Rumph
Rumph was hired away from Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama where he coached for the last 3 seasons including 2 national titles. Like all of Coach Strong’s new staff, a great recruiter who should be able to assemble and coach up some great defensive talent.

Linebackers: Brian Luc Jean-Mary
Jean-Mary coached linebackers and was recruiting coordinator and assistant head coach at Louisville under Strong. Jean-Mary, who was a finalist for 2013 Linebackers Coach of the Year award, was previously at Georgia Tech and North Alabama.

Secondary: Chris Vaughn
Vaughn comes from Memphis where he coached cornerbacks. He previously served on Houston Nutt’s staffs at Arkansas and Ole Miss. Vaughn will also reportedly be in charge of the Texas special teams units.

Stength and conditioning: Pat Moorer
Maybe the most exciting change, Moorer has a great reputation and appears to be a coach who will be able to change Texas players’ attitudes in the weight room and on the field. Even injured players have to keep working in “The Pit” until they’re ready to get back on the field.

Definitely an impressive staff assembled with recruiting in mind. The biggest question marks are offensive coordinator and in the secondary with Texas legend Duane Akina departing. But if Wickline and Rumph can remake the trenches on both sides of the ball we’ll start to see a difference pretty quickly.

Stay tuned for updates as the last couple of spots are filled and things are made official.

Updates
Added Les Koenning as WR coach. (1/15 8:44am)
ficial.

Added note about Wickline being OC and playcaller. (1/16 9:49am)

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Posted January 6th, 2014 by Brian
Filed under: Football

New Texas head coach Charlie Strong had his first press conference today where he was introduced to Texas fans by school president Bill Powers and AD Steve Patterson. Coach Strong spoke for a bit about Texas tradition, his time at Louisville, and his plans for getting Texas Football back on track.

Watch the full video of Coach Strong’s press conference:

Really enjoyed listening to him speak about football and his philosophy on building a program. Funny and genuine. Said all the right things and sounded like he meant them. Also great to see his respect for Darrell Royal in there too.

Based off his jokes at the expense of the recruiting sites, I’m guessing that a lot of the people claiming he isn’t good with media are media members he didn’t glad hand enough. Despite some Internet blathering, he appeared to be a guy who will be as good with the media and big money donors as he wants to be.

And watching Twitter reactions I’m not the only one who is excited about Coach Strong’s arrival, it sounds like he is already firing up current, future, and past Longhorn players:

And:

Isn’t it awesome to be excited about Texas Football again? Welcome to the Forty Acres Coach Strong.

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Posted January 2nd, 2014 by Brian
Filed under: Feature, Football

There are pros and cons to every potential next head coach. Yes even the great Nick Saban.

Not enough experience. Too old. No big wins. Doesn’t know Texas. Can’t recruit.

Art Briles

Coach Art Briles has won big at Baylor. Can he put the Longhorns back on top?

My concern about Art Briles is more complicated than that. He certainly has experience. He’s taken Baylor to unimaginable heights both on the field and in recruiting. He’s respected by Texas high school coaches.

The big question is, how good is Baylor really?

Their resurgence has coincided with a time when both Texas and Oklahoma are as bad as they’ve been in 15 years. Texas Tech is just ok. The Husker and Aggies are gone. The Big 12 was incredibly strong just 5 years ago, but now the conference is just a shell of it’s former self. How high would people be on Briles if he has 2-3 more losses each of the last 3 seasons?

Yes Baylor is leaps and bounds better than they’ve ever been before and Briles deserves all the credit for that but I’m not sure that’s any more impressive than what Charlie Strong has done at Louisville or James Franklin at Vanderbilt. And Strong and Franklin are probably last on the Texas fan base’s wishlist. I’m high on Briles and would be excited if he was hired by Texas, but he’s 58 and his defenses have ranged from ok to awful. He’s not the slam dunk that many Texas fans think he is.

But hey, Briles might not work out at Texas but at least the offense should be fun to watch.

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Posted January 31st, 2013 by J
Filed under: Feature, Football

Major ApplewhiteThe 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:

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Posted January 21st, 2013 by Ross
Filed under: Feature, Football

Greg Davis

We don't want Greg Davis back, but some of his ideas could help the Texas offense.

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.”

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Posted November 7th, 2012 by Brian
Filed under: Football

A statement from Mack Brown on the death of Texas head coach and legend Darrell Royal:


Mack Brown and Darrell Royal

Mack Brown and Darrell Royal in the Texas locker room after a game.

“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.”

Via MackBrown-TexasFootball.com

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Posted November 7th, 2012 by Brian
Filed under: Feature, Football

Darrell RoyalThe 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.

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Posted October 16th, 2012 by Ross
Filed under: Feature, Football

Mack Brown looking for answers against OU.

Texas head coach Mack Brown didn't have any answers for the Sooners. (AP Photo/Michael Mulvey)

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!!

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