Applewhite

Photo Credit: Charlie Pearce | Daily Texan Staff

Football is a 60-minute game, but Texas has yet to fill the span this season.

After the Longhorns first 1-2 start since 1998, the team is preaching inconsistency as the root of their issues. 

Texas exhibited erratic play in its blowout of New Mexico State the first week of the season, and it’s only gotten worse. 

“What I want us to do is put 60 minutes together,” co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite said. “We haven’t done that. We put halves together, drives together, but we haven’t played 60 minutes together and been explosive for 60 minutes.”

The 2013 Longhorns hyped the season up with BCS potential, but they’ve managed to be more bipolar than successful thus far.

It took Texas more than 27 minutes to score against New Mexico State, but it produced 56 points over the next 33 minutes.

Against BYU, Jekyll and Hyde showed their faces once again. Texas had spurts when it was able to move down the field, but it didn’t produce consistently. The Longhorns started the game with three drives, which failed to gain more than nine yards, but, their fourth drive resulted in 63 yards of movement.

In the second quarter against the Cougars, Texas started with a three-minute, 76-yard drive, which ended with a Johnathan Gray touchdown. But the Longhorns couldn’t keep the momentum as their next drive ended after losing five yards.  

Last Saturday, with a coaching change and a supposedly revamped defense, the Longhorns couldn’t produce more dependability on offense to compensate. Texas gave up 14 points to the Rebels over their first two drives but showed enough resiliency to fight back and score the next 23 points. Once again though, the team couldn’t keep up it’s momentum, and failed to score in the second half.

The lack of consistency baffles even head coach Mack Brown.

“You have three great drives against BYU, it looks easy,” Brown said. “All of a sudden it’s like you go to sleep for a while.  All of a sudden, same thing the other night, second quarter, we’re running up and down the field. Things are great, we’re scoring every time we get it. They’re tired in the third quarter. Why do we just stop?”

For the Longhorns, execution is the stated cure for this consistency.  

“I think there are times when we have a play and formation and we need to execute,” Applewhite said. “When you go back and look at a loss, it’s usually the same thing. Execution here, better answer there for us.”

Applewhite added that a large part of consistency is responding to adversity and that personality plays a large role in that as well.

“Down 14-0 to start the game and we respond with 23 points. Then they catch up, go up 24-23 the second half, where is our response there?” Applewhite asked. “That’s what we challenged ourselves as players and coaches. The moment that horse pulls up alongside of you, you accelerate again. That’s what we’ve got to do in those situations.”

Offensive coordinator Major Applewhite brings a new up-tempo approach to the Longhorns' offense to capitalize on the team's array of athletes.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

College football is changing, and Texas is changing with it.

Instead of the traditional, spread offense, a majority of college football teams are running an up-tempo offense with the purpose of putting more points on the scoreboard. And to the delight of most Longhorn players and fans, Texas is adapting to this new style of play for its 2013 season. 

“I’ve been waiting for this offense since I was a freshman,” senior wide receiver Mike Davis said. “My freshman year we kind of had an offense like this, but it wasn’t the same.”

Texas fans had a glimpse of a similar offense when Vince Young led his team to a national championship in 2005. Young ran a spread-option offense, which is slightly up-tempo.

Mack Brown announced that he would run this new attack last spring. Come Saturday, Brown and co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite will unveil a game plan engineered over the past few months.

“I think the actual playing of the tempo offense is what I want to see, see us manage it,” Brown said. “We’ve done everything that we can do to simulate it in practice. I still think with 101,000 people, players will be anxious. It will be the first time that Darrell Wyatt and Major [Applewhite] have been involved in play selection outside of the bowl game. And I want to see how much we have improved.”

With the new pace, Texas should see around 80 snaps a contest with a range of eight to 20 seconds between plays.

However, many challenges arise when a new offense is introduced. Substitutions, fitness and even practice methods are all concerns for Texas during its inaugural season with the up-tempo pace.

“You just gotta be smart about when you substitute on offense,” said Applewhite. “You can’t break the continuity and flow of what you were doing. It’s not just sub to sub. It’s sub to be smart.”

Additionally, communication must be crisp in all levels of the field. During last week’s scrimmage, Brown prepared the ball boys on the importance of quickness when they work the sideline. 

“There are things like your ball boys have to know to get the ball to the official as quickly as possible,” Brown said. “The officials have said that you can go faster if you don’t flip the ball away from us. It’s been really interesting.”

The new offense shouldn’t change much conceptually according to Brown, the key point is to keep the same concepts and tactics but just go faster. And so far, Ash is leading his squad in the right direction.

In last week’s scrimmage, Ash led a 16-play drive that showed how well the offense could work. There’s a bright future for this style of play, which will create more opportunities and points. The coaches know it will be tough for the players physically, but in the end they expect them to revel in it. 

“You have to love the fact that you’re tired because you know they are too,” Applewhite said. “This is our opportunity.”

Recently promoted co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite and men’s athletics director DeLoss Dodds both released statements last Friday regarding “inappropriate, consensual” behavior with a student during the days leading up to the 2009 Fiesta Bowl. (Daily Texan file photo)

Photo Credit: Marisa Vasquez | Daily Texan Staff

Texas co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite engaged in “inappropriate, consensual behavior with an adult student” in 2009, according to a statement released by UT men’s head athletics director DeLoss Dodds on Friday night.

The incident took place during the 2009 Fiesta Bowl, when Applewhite served as running backs coach. The identity of the student was not revealed.

“Several years ago, I made a regretful decision resulting in behavior that was totally inappropriate,” Applewhite said in a separate statement also released Friday night. “It was a one-time occurrence and was a personal matter. Shortly after it occurred, I discussed the situation with DeLoss Dodds. I was upfront and took full responsibility for my actions. This is and was resolved four years ago with the University.”

According to a letter obtained by The Daily Texan through the Texas Public Information Act from Dodds to Applewhite dated Feb. 5, 2009, the department froze Applewhite’s salary for the rest of the year and required him to schedule an initial session with a licensed professional counselor.

“As we discussed, some of your conduct in Arizona during the Fiesta Bowl week was inappropriate and falls below the standards we expect of our coaches and staff,” Dodds said in the letter.

Applewhite’s admission comes on the heels of the resignation of Beverly Kearney, former women’s track and field head coach. Kearney admitted in October to an “intimate consensual relationship” in 2002 with an adult student-athlete in the track and field progra. The University placed her on administrative leave before notifying her in January that it was prepared to begin the termination process, at which point she resigned.

Dodds said in his statement released Friday that he believes the appropriate discipline was taken in regard to Applewhite.

“In determining appropriate discipline, we analyze the facts and circumstances surrounding the behavior and its relation to job responsibilities,” Dodds said. “Major fully accepted his discipline, including counseling. We have high standards for behavior and expect our staff and coaches to adhere to them in all aspects of their lives.”

Applewhite, a former Longhorn quarterback, joined the coaching staff in 2008 as an assistant head coach before being promoted to co-offensive coordinator in January 2011. He became the sole offensive coordinator after Bryan Harsin accepted the head coaching job at Arkansas State in December.

Applewhite said he and his wife, Julie, worked to put the incident behind them through counseling.

“I am regretful for my mistake and humbled by this experience,” he said. “I am deeply sorry for the embarrassment it has caused my friends, family and the University. I appreciate all of them. I’ve learned and grown from this and look forward to my work at Texas.”

Published on February 4, 2013 as "Coach pardoned". 

Major Applewhite, who recently took over the playcalling responsibilities, looks onto the field of a previous Texas game. 

Offensive coordinator Major Applewhite engaged in “inappropriate, consensual behavior with an adult student” in 2009, according to a statement released by UT men’s head athletics director DeLoss Dodds on Friday night.

The incident took place during the 2009 Fiesta Bowl, when Applewhite served as running backs coach. The identity of the student was not revealed.

“Several years ago, I made a regretful decision resulting in behavior that was totally inappropriate,” Applewhite said in a separate statement also released Friday night. “It was a one-time occurrence and was a personal matter. Shortly after it occurred, I discussed the situation with DeLoss Dodds. I was upfront and took full responsibility for my actions. This is and was resolved four years ago with the University.”

According to a letter released by the University from Dodds to Applewhite dated Feb. 5, 2009, the department froze Applewhite’s salary for the rest of the year and required him to schedule an initial session with a licensed professional counselor.

“As we discussed, some of your conduct in Arizona during the Fiesta Bowl week was inappropriate and falls below the standards we expect of our coaches and staff,” Dodds said in the letter.

Earlier Friday, the UT System Board of Regents announced a special meeting to take place Sunday to discuss legal issues related to individual athletics personnel and issues related to relationships between employees and students generally.

System spokeswoman Jenny LaCoste-Caputo declined to tell The Daily Texan why the meeting was suddenly called. LaCoste-Caputo said the regents do not plan on approving any specific course of action as a result of the meeting, which will be held in a closed session.

“They don’t plan to take any action, but they made the decision that this was something they needed to care of and discuss,” LaCoste-Caputo said.

Board chairman Gene Powell said the regents’ primary area of concern is the well-being of students, and the board learned of the incident with “great disappointment and sadness.”

“We expect our coaches to adhere to the highest standards of conduct and lead by example,” Powell said in a statement. “However, until such time as the Board can fully understand the background surrounding this event and its moral and legal implications, we will have no further public comment.”

Applewhite’s admission comes on the heels of the resignation of Bev Kearney, former women’s track and field head coach. Kearney admitted in October to an “intimate consensual relationship” with a student-athlete in the track and field program in 2002. The University placed her on administrative leave before notifying her in January that it was prepared to begin the termination process, at which point she resigned.

According to the University’s Handbook of Operating Procedures, “The University strongly discourages consensual relationships between supervisors and subordinates, teachers and students and advisors and students.” The policy goes on to say that a failure to report the relationship “will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.”

But Kearney’s attorney, Derek Howard, said the University’s reasons for firing Kearney made no mention of those specific policies.

“[The University] doesn’t mention [Kearney’s] failure to report the relationship as the reason for firing her,” Howard told The Daily Texan in January. “It’s because she had the relationship, period.”

Dodds said in his statement released Friday that he believes the appropriate discipline was taken in regard to Applewhite.

“In determining appropriate discipline, we analyze the facts and circumstances surrounding the behavior and its relation to job responsibilities,” Dodds said. “Major fully accepted his discipline, including counseling. We have high standards for behavior and expect our staff and coaches to adhere to them in all aspects of their lives."

Applewhite, a former Longhorn quarterback, joined the coaching staff in 2008 as an assistant coach before being promoted to co-offensive coordinator in January 2011. He became the sole offensive coordinator after Bryan Harsin accepted the head coaching job at Arkansas State in December.

Applewhite said he and his wife, Julie, worked to put the incident behind them through counseling.

“I am regretful for my mistake and humbled by this experience,” he said. “I am deeply sorry for the embarrassment it has caused my friends, family, and the University. I appreciate all of them. I’ve learned and grown from this and look forward to my work at Texas.”

BREAKING: Statement from Major Applewhite

Major Applewhite, offensive coordinator for the football team, released the following statement:

"Several years ago, I made a regretful decision resulting in behavior that was totally inappropriate. It was a one-time occurrence and was a personal matter. Shortly after it occurred, I discussed the situation with DeLoss Dodds. I was upfront and took full responsibility for my actions. This is and was resolved four years ago with the University.

Through counsel I have worked with my wife and the incident is behind us. I am regretful for my mistake and humbled by this experience. I am deeply sorry for the embarrassment it has caused my friends, family, and the University. I appreciate all of them. I’ve learned and grown from this and look forward to my work at Texas."

Update: The following statement was released by DeLoss Dodds, men's head athletics director:

"Major Applewhite engaged in inappropriate, consensual behavior with an adult student one time during the 2009 Fiesta Bowl activities.  After learning of his behavior later that month, I took immediate action to review the situation. We promptly initiated an inquiry with assistance from the university’s Legal Affairs office and other units outside of Athletics.  Major admitted his inappropriate conduct and he was disciplined.  In determining appropriate discipline, we analyze the facts and circumstances surrounding the behavior and its relation to job responsibilities.  Major fully accepted his discipline, including counseling.  We have high standards for behavior and expect our staff and coaches to adhere to them in all aspects of their lives. I believe that the appropriate discipline was taken in this case."

Update: Statement from Gene Powell, chairman of the UT System Board of Regents:

"We are first and foremost concerned with the safety, health and well-being of our students on all fifteen UT campuses and wherever they travel under the auspices of our institutions. As a result, it was with great disappointment and sadness that we learned a short time ago about the reprimand given in February of 2009 to one of the assistant football coaches employed by UT Austin for inappropriate conduct during the football team's trip to the Fiesta Bowl in January 2009.

At our direction, the General Counsel to the Board has posted notice of a special called meeting of the Board on Sunday afternoon, February 3rd, so that the Board can be fully briefed on issues related to this matter in executive session.

We expect our coaches to adhere to the highest standards of conduct and lead by example. However, until such time as the Board can fully understand the background surrounding this event and its moral and legal implications, we will have no further public comment."

Gilbert expected to be Texas' ace

Junior quarterback Garrett Gilbert looks down field to make a pass during the Spring Game. Gilbert, who started all last season, has been fighting to keep his starting role this offseason. (Daily Texan file photo)

Photo Credit: Trent Lesikar | Daily Texan Staff

The quarterback position, most notably incumbent Garrett Gilbert, is the biggest mystery hovering above the Longhorns’ fast-approaching 2011 season.

The Texas coaching staff has yet to name a starting quarterback and it looks as if the four-man race will go down to the wire. Longhorn fans might not know who their team’s quarterback is until the season-opener against Rice on Sept. 3.

In two short years, Gilbert has risen to the top of the college football world and has also seen what it’s like at the bottom. Simply put, the former Gatorade National Prep Player of the Year has experienced the highs and lows that come with being the Longhorns’ starting quarterback.

The high started nearly 20 months ago, back in January of 2010, midway through the fourth quarter of the 2010 BCS National Championship game against Alabama.

Gilbert, thrust into the game as a freshman to replace the injured Colt McCoy after five plays, had just pulled the Longhorns within 3 points by orchestrating a 9-play, 65-yard drive capped by a 28-yard TD pass to Jordan Shipley. Gilbert’s second TD pass of the game brought the Texas faithful at the Rose Bowl to life.

For a moment, it looked as if a new era at quarterback was about to take flight for the Longhorns.

From that point on, however, it’s been a bumpy ride for Gilbert and Texas, to say the least. His final five snaps of the game included a pair of interceptions, an incompletion and a lost fumble on a sack.

Gilbert’s — and the Longhorns’ — 2010 season followed a similar pattern. A 3-0 start to the year preceded a 2-7 finish, with Gilbert tossing seven touchdowns against 14 picks over the final nine games.

Now, he finds himself fighting for a job.

As co-offensive coordinators Major Applewhite and Bryan Harsin continue their search for a starter, they give no special treatment to the local kid who nearly rescued Texas in Pasadena that fateful January evening.

“I think one of the worst things you can do is let someone fall into a little bit of complacency or entitlement,” Applewhite said. “All of them have to fight for their lives and fight for their jobs.”

Gilbert is 10th on the Longhorns’ career list with 3,054 yards passing and his 2,744 yards through the air in 2010 was the seventh highest mark for a single season in Texas history. He played against the best team the SEC has to offer on the biggest stage in college athletics and navigated through the Big 12. Still, Gilbert has yet to separate himself from the rest of the pack.

“I think Garrett’s done a great job, I do,” Harsin said. “I think he’s competed as well any of those [other] guys. Everybody else: Case [McCoy], Connor [Wood], David Ash, they’ve all continued to get better and better and they continue to do that as a group and that’s why we’re in the position we’re in.”

Gilbert has shown the ability to be an accurate passer at times, completing 59 percent of his attempts in 2010. On the other hand, he’s had a tendency to turn the ball over.

An area Gilbert excelled in last season, though, was his knack for turning a broken play into positive yardage — usually with his feet. He was second on the team in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns with 380 yards and five TDs on the ground.

“Ad-libbing at that position is important,” Applewhite said. “It’s been something that we’ve had at the quarterback position for a while here over the last few years, guys that can ad-lib well and it’s still a requirement at that position.”

The one thing holding Gilbert back, however, is giveaways. Throughout the offseason, the coaching staff has worked on restoring confidence to the state’s all-time leader in passing yards (12,540 at Lake Travis).

“The first thing you have to do is help him understand that there’s 10 other guys on the field,” Applewhite said. “Not everything is on you, there’s other guys that need to do their job.”

With the Longhorns playing from behind in the majority of their games in 2010, the offense leaned on Gilbert to constantly throw the ball, which lead to interceptions, including the five he threw against Kansas State during a 39-14 loss.

“Some of the mistakes that he may have made last year during the season were compounded because of the situations we found ourselves in,” Applewhite said. “We’re having to throw the ball a whole bunch because we’re behind and now he’s thrust into a position where the [defense] is dropping eight, dropping nine.

“So explaining those situations to him that, ‘Hey, you were put in some really tough spots last year, having to come back against these teams you were throwing the ball more than we wanted you to.’ “

If and when the coaches decide to name Gilbert as the starting quarterback, they will be careful to put him in the best situation to succeed — something that was lacking a season ago. A strong running game will certainly go along way towards taking the pressure off the quarterback — whoever that might be.

“You try to explain to him that we’re not going to put as much on your plate from the standpoint of putting you behind the eight ball as much,” Applewhite said. “This is going to be a little more team-oriented, not as much quarterback driven as it was with Colt or with Vince [Young].”

So are the coaches concerned they haven’t identified a starter?

“You can’t worry about that,” said head coach Mack Brown. “What you do is, make a decision on what is best for the team to win, period. Nothing else is important.”

Looks like it’s just another chapter in the up-and-down world of Gilbert.  

Football Notebook

F

Photo Credit: Trent Lesikar | Daily Texan Staff

The days of NFL-caliber tailbacks in the Texas backfield effectively ended with Jamaal Charles’ departure following the
2007 season.

After three years of a lackluster running game, Texas now appears poised to return its once prominent backfield to
national recognition.

The rebuilding effort would not have been possible without Texas’ young, new co-offensive coordinators, Major Applewhite and Bryan Harsin.

This fall, top-rated running back prospect and Brenham native Malcolm Brown, who was heavily recruited by Applewhite, will look to reinvigorate the Texas ground game. Brown will get some help along the way in 2012 with five-star recruit Johnathan Gray — the Longhorns’ top target in the class of 2012 — who announced Friday that he will sign with Texas.

While Applewhite also primarily recruited Gray, the Aledo High School product said the new schemes Harsin is installing from his days conducting the high-scoring Boise State offense enticed him to come to Texas instead of Texas A&M or TCU.

With Brown and Gray in the fold, Applewhite and Harsin should have more weapons at their disposal than ever before — another reason why Harsin left a successful Boise State program to come to the 40 Acres.

Gray ran for eight touchdowns in the school’s Class 4A Division II state title game win over La Marque last year and finished the season with a state-record 59 touchdowns to go with 3,223 yards. He told reporters Friday at a news conference announcing his decision that he’s positive he made the right choice with Texas.

“I feel like that’s where I want to be,” Gray said. “That’s my home.”

Though Gray still has one season left in high school, it isn’t stopping him from looking ahead to donning a Texas uniform alongside Brown in 2012.

“I think we’ll do great,” Gray told the Austin American-Statesman. “He’s a dominant back and I’m a dominant back. You just put two and two together, we’ll make each other better and just try to win a national championship.”

<strong>Big 12 gets new TV deal</strong>

It looks like the Big 12 is here to stay after all.

While there were doubts about the conference’s future after Nebraska and Colorado jumped ship and left the league with only 10 schools, a new television deal with Fox Sports Media Group should preserve the Big 12.

The 13-year deal calls for Fox to televise 40 football games beginning in 2012. The deal’s financial terms were not released, but the Sports Business Journal reported that it could bring in as much as $90 million a year.

“This puts the conference in a great place, not just a good place,” Texas men’s athletic director DeLoss Dodds told the Austin American-Statesman.

“They’re ecstatic.”

Fox, per its current agreement with the conference, already pays $20 million per year to broadcast roughly half as many games as allowed in the new cable rights deal.

The Big 12 also has a network deal with ABC/ESPN that runs through the 2015-16 season worth $480 million. Since that deal is already in place, ABC/ESPN has priority for choosing which games to televise, meaning Fox will choose from second-tier Big 12 matchups — most will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net’s regional networks. 

Bryan Harsin saw firsthand Saturday what Texas fans expect the Longhorn offense to do against Oklahoma next fall. The Longhorns’ new co-offensive coordinator sat courtside with Major Applewhite as the Texas men’s basketball team pummeled the Sooners in the Frank Erwin Center.

It will be Harsin and Applewhite’s responsibility to duplicate those results on the football field in 2011.

“I know our expectations here,” Harsin said in a press conference last week. “We have a championship program. We have a championship head coach, and it’s my job to help put together a championship offense.”

Harsin will also serve as the Longhorns’ quarterbacks coach, replacing Greg Davis, who resigned early last month after 13 seasons at Texas. Harsin and Applewhite, who was promoted to co-offensive coordinator, will work together to develop an offensive game plan, with Harsin handling the play-calling duties.

“As a coordinator, there are times when you need help and times when you don’t need help,” Applewhite said before introducing Harsin last week. “I understand that role, and so I want to help Bryan in installing this offense and whatever we need to do to just simply win games and do what is best for us here at Texas.”

Harsin arrived in Austin after coaching for 10 years at Boise State. He spent the previous five seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Broncos and was a finalist for the Broyles Award in 2009, which is given to the nation’s top assistant coach.

The Broncos had one of the most prolific offenses in the country the past several years, consistently ranking among the best in major statistical categories. Their offense, primarily fueled by the passing game, helped them to BCS bowl wins in 2007 and 2010.

Harsin brings a multiple-style offense that’s different from the spread offense Texas has run for nearly the past decade.

“[At Boise], we’ve had to try to create matchups in our favor, and I think that was one of the things that pushed into going into this type of system,” Harsin said. “From that it just evolved into kind of a scheme that we felt became ours. We had a formula of how to do it that we felt worked very well.”

To compare, the Longhorns lined up in six formations on offense during their 34-7 win against Wyoming last fall. Boise State lined up in 26 formations and beat the Cowboys 51-6.

Harsin and Applewhite will team with newly hired receivers coach Darrell Wyatt to improve an offense that scored just fewer than 24 points per game, ranking 88th in the country.

Co-offensive coordinators are unconventional in college football but not unheard of. Justin Fuente and Jarrett Anderson constructed a TCU offense that ranked fourth in the country in scoring offense in 2009. Last month, Oklahoma named Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell co-offensive coordinators, after previous coordinator Kyle Wilson took the head coaching job at Indiana.

Co-coordinators have worked out in the past for Texas. Gene Chizik and Duane Akina were co-defensive coordinators in 2005 whewn Texas won the national championship.

“It’s an effort that we’re going to do this together,” Harsin said. “We’re going to put our minds together. There’s a lot of knowledge that’s going to be in that room, and we’re going to make this system a Texas system.”

Texas still has a vacancy at offensive line coach and the athletics department seems primed to fill that spot as the new co-coordinators begin to rebuild the Longhorn offense.

“They’re anxious to get started, and we can’t wait to watch what they do,” said Texas head coach Mack Brown.