After one of the most tumultuous offseasons in recent memory, Texas finally has its coaching staff in place. While some expected the Longhorns and head coach Mack Brown to rapidly fill the vacancies on staff, they instead took their time, handpicked their guys and only finished the hires last week. Seven new faces will pace the sidelines next year at Texas and here’s a look at some of them.
Will Muschamp shocked the Longhorn nation by bolting for Florida in December, leaving fans and recruits wondering what would be next.
Enter: Manny Diaz.
Diaz was the biggest hire and the very first Mack locked down. He has only one year of experience as defensive coordinator of a BCS school, but his Mississippi State Bulldogs finished third in the SEC in scoring defense last season and fourth in rushing defense. Diaz likes to show opposing quarterbacks mixed looks, which should work well in a pass-heavy league such as the Big 12. Diaz might not show as much energy as Muschamp on the sideline, but his results should be as good, if not better.
Major Applewhite was the biggest surprise. It was rumored that Applewhite would follow Muschamp to Florida to become the offensive coordinator, but it seems Applewhite’s ties to Texas were too deep. The former Texas quarterback gets the co-offensive coordinator tag slapped on to go with his promotion after working with the team’s running backs for the past three seasons. He and Bryan Harsin will combine to improve an offense that only managed 24 points per game, and develop junior quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who struggled during his first year as a starter.
Mack’s most underrated hire this offseason had to be former Longhorn cornerback Jerry Gray as defensive backs coach, who returns to the college ranks after coaching in the NFL for 15 years. Adding someone with NFL experience helps recruiting immensely, and Gray’s experience with Texas — he grew up in Lubbock and coached at SMU — will add to the Longhorns’ recruiting prowess. Gray will be a hit with the players and should help add to the play in the secondary that over the years has garnered Texas the nickname DB University.
Searels replaces Mac McWhorter as offensive line coach and was a last-ditch hire. Searels was the final member of the staff to be hired and hasn’t been in Austin for more than a week. Texas was pursuing Auburn offensive line coach Jeff Grimes, but couldn’t lure him away from the Tigers. In turn, top offensive line recruit Christian Westerman selected Auburn over the Longhorns. Still, Searels develops good relationships with his players and comes from a great coaching pedigree in the SEC, having coached four years at Georgia and won a national championship with LSU.