Texas Longhorns Football

Texas Football: Grading Charlie Strong's 2014 Coaching Staff

Alex SimsCorrespondent IIIJanuary 16, 2014

Texas Football: Grading Charlie Strong's 2014 Coaching Staff

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    Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

    New Texas Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong has finally solidified his coaching staff, the school announced Wednesday evening.

    The 10-man group features one holdover from Mack Brown's staff and four transplants from Strong's staff at Louisville.

    Strong was also able to swipe an assistant from a Big 12 rival and two from SEC programs.

    An eclectic mix of young and old coaches, the group looks like it will bring a great blend of experience and familiarity that will set Strong up for success in Austin.

    Click on for a breakdown of all 10 hires.

Vance Bedford: Defensive Coordinator/Secondary

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    247Sports

    Previous Job: DC, Louisville

    Grade: A

     

    Strong knocked out two birds with one stone by bringing on Vance Bedford as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach.

    Bedford has strong Texas ties, as he was a defensive back for the Longhorns from 1977-81. Additionally, he'll bring personal familiarity to Strong's staff. He spent the last four years at Louisville.

    He and Strong have been together since he joined Urban Meyer's staff at Florida in 2008.

    Bedford has proven his worth as a defensive backs coach at UL, UF, Michigan and even with the Chicago Bears.

    On paper, this is an outstanding hire.

     

    Texas release

Bruce Chambers: Tight Ends

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    Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Job: Recruiting coordinator/TE coach, Texas

    Grade: B

     

    The lone holdover from the Texas staff, Bruce Chambers has been with the Longhorns since 1998.

    During his tenure, Texas went to four BCS bowls, won a national championship and made two national title game appearances.

    He has coached several elite tight ends, namely Jermichael Finley and Bo Scaife. He also spent time as the team's running backs coach, tutoring Ricky Williams for one season in 1998 and Cedric Benson for two.

    However, the Longhorns have fallen off a bit on the recruiting trail of late. 

    It's always good to keep some ties to prior coaching staffs, and Chambers' ties to Texas and knowledge of the school's recruiting base could prove to be very beneficial.

     

    Texas bio

Brian Jean-Mary: Linebackers/Recruiting Coordinator

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    247Sports

    Previous Job: Asst. HC/LB coach, Louisville

    Grade: B+

     

    Another Louisville transplant, Brian Jean-Mary will assume the role of recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach at Texas.

    Jean-Mary was an instrumental part of Strong's staff for the Cardinals and, like Bedford, will help in bringing his tough defensive mentality to UT.

    UL finished the season No. 1 in the nation in total defense and second in scoring defense, so it is clear Strong is trying to replicate that in Austin.

    The only question surrounding Jean-Mary is his distinction as recruiting coordinator. He has no experience as a recruiting coordinator and has few ties to Texas. However, he did spend some time recruiting the state while on staff at Georgia Tech.

     

    Texas release

Les Koenning: Wide Receivers

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    247Sports

    Previous Job: OC, Mississippi State

    Grade: A

     

    A longtime assistant coach, Les Koenning is going back to where his career began.

    Koenning had his start as a graduate assistant at Texas in 1981 and has had a long list of stops, both in college and the NFL, since that beginning. He is also a UT graduate.

    Most recently the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Mississippi State, Koenning will bring a wealth of experience to Strong's staff.

    His career has included stops at Texas A&M, Alabama, TCU and Houston and a stint with the Miami Dolphins.

    With Koenning essentially taking a demotion to join Strong's staff, this looks like a phenomenal hire.

     

    Texas release

Tommie Robinson: Running Backs

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    Handout/Getty Images

    Previous Job: Passing/RB coach, USC

    Grade: A

     

    Tommie Robinson will bring just about everything one could ask for in a Texas assistant.

    He has NFL experience, ties to Texas and experience with major college programs.

    Robinson was an assistant for the Arizona Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys. He was most recently the passing game coordinator and running backs coach at USC and also spent time with the Miami Hurricanes, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State and TCU.

    His pupils include LaDainian Tomlinson, Michael Irvin and Beanie Wells.

    He'll make an excellent running backs coach at a Texas program that has plenty of talent at the position just waiting to be developed.

     

    Texas release

Chris Rumph: Assistant Head Coach for Defense/Defensive Line

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    247Sports

    Previous Job: DL coach, Alabama

    Grade: A

     

    Chris Rumph knows what it takes to win consistently at the highest level of college football.

    The new assistant head coach for defense was previously the defensive line coach at Alabama, where he had been for the last three years. In the release on his hiring, he asserted that he's ready to take UT back to the top:

    I'm excited to be here at Texas. Growing up and watching the program and the team play, all the great players, the tradition and history, I'm glad to be a part of that. Also with Coach Strong, because I believe in him and the men he's bringing on this staff, I believe in his vision for this program. I'm excited to get going and get Texas back on top.

    The South Carolina native spent time on the staff at Clemson before heading to 'Bama. There, he worked with Gaines Adams, Da'Quan Bowers, Andre Branch, Jarvis Jenkins and others. 

    He'll bring some great experience and energy to the Texas staff.

Chris Vaughn: Defensive Backs/ Special Teams Coordinator

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    Chris Vaughn (not pictured) spent the last two years as the Memphis cornerbacks coach. The Tigers held Louisville to just 220 passing yards in their 2013 meeting.
    Chris Vaughn (not pictured) spent the last two years as the Memphis cornerbacks coach. The Tigers held Louisville to just 220 passing yards in their 2013 meeting.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Previous Job: CB coach, Memphis

    Grade: B

     

    Chris Vaughn isn't the big-name hire that many others on this staff are, but he does bring some nice experience to the group.

    Vaughn was most recently the cornerbacks coach at Memphis. Strong had direct contact with him there, as the Tigers held UL to just 220 passing yards in the Cardinals' narrow 24-17 win this season.

    Before heading to Memphis, he was the defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator at Ole Miss. His SEC experience started before that at Arkansas.

    He held several titles for the Razorbacks, all on the defensive side.

    While he'll become the special teams coordinator in Austin, he has no prior special teams coaching experience.

     

    Texas release

Shawn Watson: Assistant Head Coach for Offense/Quarterbacks

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    247Sports

    Previous Job: OC/QB coach, Louisville

    Grade: A

     

    The third Louisville coach following Strong to Texas, Shawn Watson brings continuity from the Cardinals and Big 12 experience from his past to UT.

    Watson was with Strong's staff at UL from 2011-13. Before that, he was on staff at Nebraska and Colorado from 1999-2010, back when both programs were in the Big 12.

    His prior experience came in the Midwest at several schools, including Northwestern, Illinois and Miami (Ohio). For Watson, the chance to join strong at a program like UT was too good to pass up, per TexasSports.com:

    In my opinion, Texas is one of the greatest football programs in the country. It has a long tradition of excellence as a university and as an athletic program and, undoubtedly, in football. The opportunity to continue to work with Charlie was hard to pass up with our friendship. We were able to accomplish a lot of really cool things at Louisville and we have great chemistry together. Just being with him, I love what he stands for. It's about the kids and about them being better men and, along with that, you develop champions.

    Watson's rapport with Strong should help greatly with the transition.

Joe Wickline: Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line

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    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Previous Job: OL coach, Oklahoma State

    Grade: A

     

    While Watson brings prior experience in the Big 12, new offensive coordinator Joe Wickline will come directly from a Big 12 rival.

    He served as the offensive line coach at Oklahoma State from 2005-13 and will bring direct knowledge of the league to Strong's staff.

    In the past few seasons, OSU has become a mainstay in the conference. He'll know the opponents, as well as the recruiting territory.

    That will be extremely valuable to Strong's staff, as only UT holdover Bruce Chambers brings that kind of knowledge to this bunch.

     

    Texas release

Pat Moorer: Head Strength and Conditioning Coach

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    Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Job: Strength coach, Louisville

    Grade: A

     

    The fourth and final addition from Louisville to Texas is strength coach Pat Moorer.

    A big focus for Strong's move to Texas was bringing his tough, physical mentality with him. What better way to do that than to bring the Cardinals' strength and conditioning coach?

    Moorer helped lead UL to a 37-15 record during his tenure, including 23-3 in the last two seasons.

    He was also on staff at Florida and Illinois in the 1990s and South Carolina in the 2000s. The Florida graduate served as the personal trainer for NFL and UF legend Emmitt Smith.

    He'll be relied on to bring the toughness of the 'Cards over to the 'Horns.

     

    Texas release

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