Texas Football has fired defensive coordinator Todd Orlando and wide receivers coach Drew Mehringer, according to a press release on Sunday. They have also re-assigned offensive coordinator Tim Beck to quarterbacks coach for bowl preparation, while inside receivers coach Corby Meekins will serve in an “administrative capacity.”
The announcement of the major coaching changes come at the conclusion of Texas’ 7–5 regular season.
“After taking time, looking back and evaluating the season in its totality, I am very disappointed in our performance in a number of areas in 2019,” Herman said. “7–5 will never be our standard at Texas, and I take full responsibility for any and all of our shortcomings and know we need to do a better job coaching across the board. With that said, I do believe the future is very bright, have decided to make some changes to our staff as we head into bowl preparation and look to finish strong in the final weeks of fall recruiting.”
Orlando will be replaced by co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Craig Naviar, who will serve as the interim coordinator.
Andre Coleman and Jeremiah George, who were previously on the support staff, will fill in interim roles. Coleman will be the wide receivers coach, while George will coach the linebackers.
Director of recruiting Bryan Carrington will move into one of the 10 full-time assistant coaching roles as an interim to help Herman on the recruiting trail.
These changes come on the heels of a lackluster defensive year for the Longhorns. In their 2019 season, Orlando’s defense allowed 28.9 points per game, ranking No. 8 out of the 10 teams in the Big 12. Texas has also struggled significantly in pass defense, ranking No. 9 in the conference after giving up 306.4 passing yards per game.
Over the final four games, Texas’ defense allowed scores of 24, 23, 24, 24 — a massive improvement from the first eight games of the year after allowing 30 points to every Power Five opponent it faced until the Kansas State matchup in Week Nine.
Coming into this season, Texas was replacing eight defensive starters. The inexperience of the defense was the primary concern at the beginning of the year, but it shifted quickly to the injuries that plagued their side of the ball.
Orlando and Herman have said their poor defensive performance comes from the slew of injuries in Texas’ secondary. Yet the “next man up” mentality seemed to fail all season, with inexperienced players struggling to contain Big 12 offenses.
Orlando was in the second of his four-year contract that was paying him $1.7 million annually.
Texas’ offense was expected to lead the Longhorns to a College Football Playoff berth this season behind veterans like senior wide receiver Collin Johnson and junior quarterback Sam Ehlinger.
Yet, they began sputtering following their loss to the Oklahoma Sooners. In the first six games — including the Red River Showdown — Texas averaged 37 points per game. Following the morale-crushing loss, they declined to 31 points per game, putting up only 10 points against Baylor and 21 against Iowa State.
Even with wide receivers Johnson, senior Devin Duvernay and a breakout season from sophomore Brennan Eagles, Texas was unable to turn their talent into wins.
These struggles have also come from a faltering offensive line that has allowed a career-high 32 sacks and a subpar rushing offense.
Before the Texas Tech game, Beck was asked about potential staff changes.
“That's entirely up to Tom,” Beck said. “I can look in the mirror. I work really hard. I do a really good job. I'm proud of what I've done. I feel like I coach these guys hard. I recruit hard.”
The decision comes right before Texas was set to hit the recruiting trail. Now, the Longhorns are tasked with recruiting on top of beginning a national search for a replacement.
Both Orlando and Beck came to UT in 2017 with Herman. Orlando worked under Herman while he was head coach at the University of Houston and Beck was with Herman during Ohio State’s 2015 Championship run.
Even with these recent developments, Herman is grateful for his time with Orlando, Mehringer and Meekins.
“I’m truly grateful for everything Todd, Drew and Corby have done, not only for us here at Texas, but in building the program at Houston, as well,” Herman said. “These were very difficult decisions, and certainly not an indictment of them as coaches. I just believe we need a fresh set of eyes and infusion of new ideas and energy to help us grow across the board.”