Darrell Wyatt

Running back Malcolm Brown handles the ball at spring practice.  Brown will be guided in part by running backs Larry Porter, who brings seasoned experience to his first year at Texas.  

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

It was Darrell K Royal who said a football coach is nothing more than a teacher.

Lessons won’t be in short supply for Texas after a string of promotions, hires and new positions in its coaching staff. Among those with new job titles are co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Major Applewhite, co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Darrell Wyatt and assistant coach/running backs coach Larry Porter.

The relevancy of their brag-worthy resumes is undeniable. But the burning question is what the impact of those changes in staff will be on the Longhorns.  

After taking the reins just before the Valero Alamo Bowl, Applewhite will have a bit more time this spring to get a handle on things, particularly the up-tempo offense head coach Mack Brown has been emphasizing. Applewhite is more suited to the quick offensive strategy than former co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, Brown said at a press conference before the start of spring practice.

“I think it’s probably easier for Major to do it, because it had not been a huge part of Bryan’s background and it’s been what Major likes and what he does and it’s been what Darrell Wyatt likes,” Brown said.  

Applewhite will bring his expertise as a former Longhorn quarterback to implement the up-tempo offense and smooth any rumples as the team adjusts to the strategy.  

Like Applewhite, Wyatt also received his promotion just before the Alamo Bowl. He has worked with Texas wide receivers since his hire in January 2011, with two of them, Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley, posting more than 50 receptions.  

Wyatt has a history of getting results. As co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach at Kansas in 2010, Wyatt helped rebuild a team that had lost a quarterback and two wide receivers. He also guided the University of Southern Mississippi to a school record of 428 points in 2009. 

“Texas is the type of place where the sky’s the limit on what you can accomplish,” Wyatt said in a press conference following his hire. “The level of expectations are extremely high and that’s something I will definitely embrace.” 

With returners Davis and Shipley, plus the additions of Jake Oliver, Jacorey Warrick and Montrel Meander, Wyatt has an impressive batch on his hands, and his vision and determination could help propel Texas’ wide receivers to smoother play in the up-tempo offense.  

For Porter, burnt orange is a new color. 

The assistant coach/running backs coach embarks upon his first season at Texas after being hired in January. After graduating from Memphis as a four-year letterer, Porter had coaching stints at Arizona State, LSU, Oklahoma State as well as his alma mater. The running game of his Sun Devils ranked 24th in the nation last season. Four of his running backs were selected in the first three rounds of the NFL draft in three years, from 2004 to 2007. 

“He brings a wealth of experience and has a reputation as one of the best coaches and recruiters in our game,” Brown said after Porter’s hire.  

Porter’s expertise in developing players could be just what the Longhorns need to capitalize on a strong group of backs that has tremendous potential. With the influx of an up-tempo offense, the speed of Malcolm Brown, Johnathan Gray and Daje Johnson will surely be utilized.

The impacts of these new coaching positions will unmask themselves as play begins to pan out, but for now, Texas coaches have plenty to teach. And the Longhorns have plenty to learn.

Published on March 6, 2013 as "Coaching shifts impact play". 

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

When Bryan Harsin was named Texas’ co-offensive coordinator and given play-calling responsibilities in 2011, Mack Brown knew who Harsin’s successor would be.

“I told Major [Applewhite], ‘You need to put yourself in a position as the play-caller every day, because that day is going to come fast, and when it comes, you need to be ready’,” Brown said.

Sure enough, when Harsin got his first career head coaching gig at Arkansas State last month, it was Applewhite who immediately took over his duties as the team’s play-caller and quarterbacks coach. In his first game in his new role, Applewhite’s Longhorns offense stalled in the first quarter of the Valero Alamo Bowl against Oregon State on Dec. 29. But Texas scored touchdowns on each of its final drives, overcoming a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Beavers, 31-27.

“It’s not about the X’s and O’s, it’s really just about the culture of our program and demanding more of our guys,” Applewhite said after the Alamo Bowl victory. “Tonight, the way we needed to win the game was to spread them out, throw it, clear some loose lanes for the quarterback to run the ball and be effective.

Applewhite previously served as Texas’ running back coach, leaving a vacancy in the Longhorns coaching staff. It was filled by Larry Porter, who coached running backs at Oklahoma State, LSU and, most recently, Arizona State.

He went 3-21 in the 2010 amd 2011 seasons as the head coach at Memphis and will be working with a talented Texas backfield that includes Johnathan Gray, Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron.

“We are very excited to have Larry Porter joining our staff,” Brown said. “During his time at Oklahoma State and LSU, he did a tremendous job recruiting Dallas and Houston. He has also worked with two of our current coaches in [defensive tackles coach] Bo Davis and [offensive line coach] Stacy Searels in previous positions and has been friends with [wide receivers coach] Darrell Wyatt for a number of years.

“I’m just really excited to be joining what I think is the best program in the country,” Porter said. “Having the opportunity to work under a man like Coach Brown, who I look at as a legend in college football, is an honor and a privilege. He has done so much for college football and is so well respected.”

In the Longhorns’ nine wins this past season, they averaged 203.9 rushing yards per game and averaged 5 yards per carry. In their four losses, they ran for 98.5 yards per game and averaged only 3.1 yards per carry.

Harsin heads to an Arkansas State program that has seen each of its last two head coaches hired by SEC squads.

Hugh Freeze, who went 6-6 in his first season as the head coach at Ole Miss this year, was the Red Wolves’ head coach in 2011 while Guz Malzahn was named Auburn’s head coach last month after leading Arkansas State to a Sun Belt title last year.

“He’s a bright young coach with great enthusiasm and passion for the kids and the game. He’ll do a tremendous job at Arkansas State,” Mack Brown said of Harsin. “He feels like it is a great situation for him. We’re happy any time our coaches have the opportunity to be a head coach. I think that is a great reflection of the types of coaches we are fortunate enough to have in our program.”

Among the other coaching changes made include Wyatt being promoted to co-offensive coordinator, making him the first African-American coordinator in Texas history. Offensive line coach Stacy Searels was promoted to assistant head coach for offense and tight end coach Bruce Chambers now handles the primary recruiting coordinator duties, which he previously shared with Wyatt.

Published on January 14, 2013 as "Applewhite takes over play-calling". 

Former Longohrns offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin has officially been named the head coach at Arkansas State, Texas announced Wedensday afternoon.

With Harsin's departure, Major Applewhite will retain his title as co-offensive coordinator and will now assume the playcalling duties while wide receivers coach Darrell Wyatt has been promoted to co-offensive coordinator. Among the other staff changes are Stacy Searels' move from offensive line coach to assistant head coach for offense. With the promotion of Wyatt, who tight ends coach Bruce Chambers split recruiting duties with, Chambers will now handle the recruiting responsibilities on his own.

Texas also announced that it will begin looking for a running backs coach, a role that Applewhite had while serving as co-offensive coordinator for the last two seasons.

"[Bryan] has done a tremendous job fo us, and we appreciate all the energy he's poured into our program the past two seasons," Longhorns head coach Mack Brown said in a statement. "He's a bright young head coach with great enthusiasm and passion for the kids and the game. He'll do a tremendous job at Arkansas State. Because of the great support and resources [men's athletics director] DeLoss Dodds, [UT president] Bill Powers and The University of Texas provide us, our coaches are well compensated and in a position that they can focus all of their energy on our program and be patient when it comes to future opportunitites. We're excited for Bryan because after visiting with the folks at Arkansas State, he feels like it is a great situation for him. We're happy any time our coaches have the opportunity to be a head coach. I think that is a great reflection of the types of coaches we are fortunate enough to have in our program."

Applewhite, who left Texas as its all-time leading passer in 2002, was a graduate assistant for the Longhorns from 2003-04. After spending a year as the quarterbacks coach at Syracuse (2005), Rice (2006), and Alabama (2007), he returned to Texas to serve as the running backs coach. In 2010, he was promoted to co-offensive coordinator following the departure of Greg Davis.

He'll make his playcalling debut when the Longhorns take on Oregon State in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29.

Senior wide receiver Malcolm Williams practiced this week for the first time this spring after sitting out with what head coach Mack Brown called a “family issue.”

Williams has been a veteran presence at practice in the first half of spring camp, assisting new wide receivers coach Darrell Wyatt as he gets acclimated to a young corps of wide outs.

“We’re really happy to have him back. He’s a great leader for us,” said Brown. “He’s gained some weight. He can play the H-back position. He can play the wide receiver position. He can play a lot of things for us and he’s doing well in those areas.”

The Garland native is the Longhorns’ leading returning receiver, with 80 catches for 1,118 yards and seven touchdowns in his three-year career. Williams is also a fixture on special teams and is the elder statesman of the Texas receivers. The 6-foot-3, 228-pounder should shore up a position that gave the Longhorns trouble a season ago with a number of untimely dropped passes.

“He gives us great leadership, outside of just the receiving position,” Brown said. “But he also gives us one of the best special teams players in the country.”

<strong>Brown focusing on run game</strong>

Texas’ poor performance on the ground over the past few seasons certainly hasn’t been lost on the Longhorns’ head coach, who said his teams have failed to run the ball consistently for four years.

Brown placed most of the burden on the offensive line to get things right this year, as the Longhorns continue to adapt to new co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin. Brown noted the hardest part for the offense this spring has been line play, but that isn’t stopping him from stressing the importance of the running game.

“We’re going to run the ball and we are going to run it well, and it’s going to take a while because it’s a transition,” Brown said. “It’s a whole lot for the offensive line, and we only have eight scholarship offensive linemen healthy so we’re really thin there.”

Injuries have also taken a toll on the ball carriers, but not the usual suspects. The oft-injured Fozzy Whittaker has turned heads this spring and has stayed off the injury report.

“Fozzy has looked great, not good. We’re really excited about him, and he’s stayed healthy so far,” Brown said. “He really looks the best I have ever seen him look.”

Instead, the injury bug bit redshirt freshman Traylon Shead and junior Jeremy Hills. Shead pulled his hamstring and missed the Longhorns’ last scrimmage, while Hills missed time with a pulled groin.

Fifth-year senior Cody Johnson is working almost exclusively at fullback but has gotten reps at tailback this spring, as the coaching staff plans to use him in short-yardage and goal-line situations.

Junior speedster D.J. Monroe, the most elusive of Texas’ backs, joined the team for practice this week after missing the opening of spring camp because of track-and-field commitments.

<strong>Horns get talk from Navy official</strong>

The assistant secretary of the Navy, Juan Garcia, greeted the Longhorns on Wednesday morning before practice. Garcia, who was in town for a lecture, spoke to the team about becoming leaders and took time to meet the players and coaching staff.

“It was a great meeting. It was fun, and I told him how much we appreciate him and all the guys and ladies that are across the world trying to help us stay safe,” Brown said. “We got some tips on leadership, which was good as well.”

The Longhorns lacked consistent leadership a year ago, and the coaching staff has put a larger emphasis on that dynamic this spring.

“We’ve got to compete hard every play and we didn’t all the time last year,” Brown said. “We’ve got to get that culture out of here.”

In an offseason full of departures, Texas fans had reason to cheer on Sunday when the athletic department announced the hiring of Darrell Wyatt as wide receivers coach.

Wyatt replaces Bobby Kennedy, who accepted a job offer from Colorado last week. Wyatt, 44, was the co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach at Kansas last season. Prior to that he spent two years at Southern Mississippi and has 21 years of coaching experience.

It was the first hire for Longhorn head coach Mack Brown, who has lost five assistants during the offseason, including his offensive, defensive and special teams coordinators.

Still, Wyatt is considered a top prospect at his position and has spent 10 years in the Big 12. He also coached the Minnesota Vikings in 2006.

“We are so excited about the addition of Darrell to our staff,” Brown said in a statement. “He’s not only one of the best wide receivers coaches in the nation, but he also brings expertise as an offensive coordinator.”

Wyatt is also known as a tenacious recruiter and helped Oklahoma land Adrien Peterson while part of the Sooners’ staff in 2004.

“Texas is the type of place where the skies [sic] the limit of what you can accomplish,” Wyatt said. “

Texas returns Marquise Goodwin, Malcolm Williams and Mike Davis at receiver. Davis, a freshman, finished second on the team in receptions and receiving yards and will lead a relatively young unit that includes just two incoming recruits.