Burning question: what will changes in staff bring to Texas football?


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".