Gone are the days of seeing head coach Mack Brown standing on the sidelines of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in his usual pose — with his hands on his knees, nervously awaiting Texas’ next play.
There is a new regime in town, led by head coach Charlie Strong, who is more likely to be found pacing the sidelines, pumping his fist or even chest bumping his players as they come off the field.
Strong assembled a staff of his own too, filled with some of the best coaches from all over the country. Tight ends coach Bruce Chambers, entering his 17th season at Texas, is the only holdover from Brown’s squad. Here is a quick look at the new team.
Charlie Strong — HC
From what’s been seen so far, the new boss is the polar opposite of Brown. Strong takes a very hands-on approach, often running drills with his players and trying to keep up with them in the weight room. He’s also demonstrated a penchant for discipline, having already removed seven players from the program since he was hired and suspending three more. His track record is impressive, and there has been plenty of talk about what he is capable of, but none of that will matter if he can’t win in Austin. He’ll get his first chance to prove himself this weekend.
Shawn Watson — Asst. HC, QB
Watson is one of several coaches Strong brought with him from Louisville. He served as Strong’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Cardinals, working with current Minnesota Viking quarterback Teddy Bridgewater over the past few seasons. Watson will be tasked with play-calling duties this season and will also be responsible for developing Texas’ young quarterbacks, sophomore Tyrone Swoopes and true freshman Jerrod Heard. Given David Ash’s injury issues, the young guns may see the field sooner than expected.
Joe Wickline — OC, OL
Wickline was likely Strong’s most high-profile hire, as he snatched him away from conference foe Oklahoma State. With the Cowboys, Wickline developed a reputation as one of the top offensive line coaches in the nation, often turning unproven high school talent into NFL stars. He’ll have his work cut out for him this season with a relatively inexperienced group of linemen, but he will be able to rely on four-year starter center Dominic Espinosa as the leader of the group.
Tommie Robinson — RB
Robinson comes to Texas from USC, having served as the Trojans’ running backs coach and passing game coordinator last season. Robinson has a wealth of experience working with running backs, having coached the position at five different universities and in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals. He inherits Texas’ strongest position group, with junior Johnathan Gray and senior Malcolm Brown making up one of the best running back combinations in the country.
Les Koenning — WR
A former Longhorn himself, Koenning comes to Texas with a great understanding of the pressure that comes with wearing a burnt orange uniform. He has coached twelve different teams over the course of his 33-year coaching career. Koenning has the difficult task of getting the most out of his inexperienced receivers immediately. The departure of Mike Davis and dismissals of Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander have left the Longhorns very thin at the receiver position. If Koenning isn’t able to quickly fill those holes, the Texas passing game will struggle mightily.
Vance Bedford — DC, Secondary
Bedford is a former Longhorn defensive back and another coach that Strong brought from Louisville. He is perhaps best known for being the defensive backs coach at Michigan in 1997 when they won the national championship, and Wolverine defensive back Charles Woodson became the first and only primarily defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy. Bedford takes over a defense that returns eight players and a secondary that includes star defensive back Quandre Diggs. The talent is there; it’s just a question of what he can do with it.
Chris Vaughn — DB, ST
One of the younger coaches on staff, Vaughn comes to Texas from Memphis, but spent the majority of his coaching career at Arkansas. Vaughn drastically improved the Tigers’ secondary while at Memphis last season, moving their pass defense up 42 spots in the national rankings. He will also be tasked with coaching up Texas’ rookie kickers and improving the Longhorns’ return game.
Chris Rumph — DL, Asst. HC for Defense
Rumph is another young coach on staff, but has plenty of valuable experience, having won two championships as the defensive line coach at Alabama over the past three seasons. Rumph played an important role in developing the Crimson Tide defense into one of the best in the country and will be tasked with getting the most out of senior Cedric Reed, junior Malcom Brown and the rest of Texas’ talented defensive linemen this year.
Brian Jean-Mary — LB, Recruiting
Jean-Mary followed Strong to Texas from Louisville, where he became known for transforming an underwhelming group of linebackers. The linebacking corps at Texas has shown flashes of brilliance over the past few seasons, but clearly has plenty of improving to do. Jean-Mary will look to get his guys up to speed in a hurry, as strong linebacker play could make the Longhorn front seven the best in the league in 2014. He is also responsible for heading up Texas’ recruiting efforts.
Pat Moorer — Strength & Conditioning
Certainly the most intimidating man on Strong’s staff, Moorer has already developed a reputation as a fan favorite in Austin. He formerly served as Emmitt Smith’s personal trainer and has long been known for his intense workout regimen. So far, Moorer has made headlines for his famous “pit” workouts, used as punishment for players who violate team rules or are unable to practice due to minor injury.