Texas Football: Getting to Know Charlie Strong's New Staff
Another new wave of change is headed to Austin. Texas head coach Charlie Strong has officially announced his new staff that he hopes will bring Longhorn football back to the top.
Strong has set the standard high for Texas. It isn't about winning 10 games or beating a specific team every year. It's about winning championships, and the staff he has put together may be able to help with that.
"When you're the top program in the country, you have to be about championships," Strong said. "That's what we want."
Since arriving in Austin January 6, Strong has met with each player on the roster and discussed his championship expectations for the future.
"They want to win," Strong said. "They know we need to raise the standards. They understand that the program is not where they want it to be. When they admit to it, then you know you have a way to go change it because they realize the problems."
The Longhorns will only have one familiar face and a lot of new faces to help bring the Texas standard back to Austin. Here's a look at the new Texas football staff.
Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line Joe Wickline
|1984-1987||Delta State||Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line|
|1995||Pearl River CC||Offensive Line|
|1996||SW Mississippi CC||Head Coach|
|1999-2001||Middle Tennessee State||Offensive Line/Running Game/Recruiting Coordinator|
|2002-2004||Florida||Offensive Line/Running Game Coordinator|
|2005-2013||Oklahoma State||Offensive Line|
Joe Wickline is a familiar face for both Charlie Strong and in the Big 12. Strong and Wickline worked at Florida under Ron Zook in 2002-2004 before Wickline made the move to Oklahoma State.
Since his arrival in Stillwater, the Cowboys have averaged to rank No. 26 nationally in total offense, and Wickline's offensive line played a major role in that success.
It is no secret that Texas' offensive line has been less than stellar for many years now, with the last offensive lineman drafted being Tony Hills in 2008. Wickline's success with linemen is something Texas desperately needs.
Wickline's contract at Oklahoma State included a $600,000 buyout unless he would be named offensive coordinator and play-caller at another university, according to an open records request obtained by the Austin American Statesman.
Strong said Wickline would call plays with assistance from quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach for offense Shawn Watson. Will Wickline really call the plays, or is Texas saying everything it can to avoid paying $600,000 to Oklahoma State? Time will tell.
Defensive Coordinator/Secondary Vance Bedford
|1987-1992||Colorado State||Defensive Backs|
|1993-1994||Oklahoma State||Defensive Backs|
|1999-2004||Chicago Bears||Defensive Backs|
|2007||Oklahoma State||Defensive Coordinator|
Not surprising to most, Strong has retained Louisville defensive coordinator Vance Bedford to lead the Texas defense and secondary. Bedford was an assistant coach with Strong at Florida and followed Strong to Louisville in 2010.
During his time at Florida, Bedford's secondaries were some of the best in the nation, ranking No. 1 in interceptions and No. 3 in passing efficiency defense in 2008, and No. 7 in interceptions and No. 2 in passing efficiency defense in 2009.
At Louisville, Bedford transformed the Cardinals defense, which led the nation in total defense in 2013, and finished in the top 25 for total defense since his arrival in 2010.
But Bedford brings more than just coaching experience to Texas, he is also a Texas Ex, and he played defensive back for the Longhorns between 1977 and 1981.
Bedford's ties to the state of Texas and experience coaching in the NFL will help in the recruiting field.
Shawn Watson, Assistant Head Coach for Offense/Quarterback Coach
|1985||Illinois||Tight Ends/Offensive Tackles|
|1987-1989||Miami (OH)||Tight Ends|
|1990-1993||Miami (OH)||Quarterbacks/Recruiting Coordinator|
|1994-1996||Southern Illinois||Head Coach|
|2006||Nebraska||Recruiting Coordinator/Tight Ends|
As his resume shows, Shawn Watson is a familiar face for Texas fans with his years coaching at former Big 12 schools Colorado and Nebraska. Watson coached four Big 12 North Champions at Colorado and led the Buffaloes to a Big 12 Championship win over Texas in 2001.
Watson's most recent accolade includes coaching Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who is likely to be a top pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
Although Watson is not the labeled play-caller for Texas, he will be involved in the offensive plays with offensive coordinator Joe Wickline.
"He's going to be involved, so he's not just totally out of it," Strong said of Watson, who was the offensive play caller at Louisville.
Les Koenning, Wide Receivers
|1985||Louisiana-Lafayette||Wide Receivers/Recruiting Coordinator|
|1986-1989||Mississippi State||Running Backs/Wide Receivers|
|1994-1996||Texas A&M||Wide Receivers|
|1997||Miami Dolphins||Offensive Assistant|
|2000||TCU||Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks|
|2003-2007||Texas A&M||Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks|
|2008-2009||South Alabama||Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks|
|2009-2013||Mississippi State||Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks|
Wide receivers coach Les Koenning has the Texas ties Strong needs on his staff. Koenning has coached at four different universities in the state of Texas, including former Texas rival Texas A&M. During his four years at Mississippi State, the Bulldogs nearly doubled their scoring offense from 15 points per game in 2008 to an average 28 points per game under Koenning.
Tommie Robinson, Running Backs
|1992-1993||Utah State||Running Backs|
|1998-2000||Dallas Cowboys||Offensive Assistant/Wide Receivers/Special Teams|
|2001||Oklahoma State||Running Backs|
|2002||Georgia Tech||Wide Receivers|
|2003-2005||Georgia Tech||Tight Ends|
|2007-2009||Miami (Fla.)||Running Backs|
|2010-2012||Arizona Cardinals||Running Backs|
|2013||Southern California||Running Backs|
Running backs coach Tommie Robinson brings a wide range of experience at both the college and NFL levels. His accolades include coaching NFL stars Beanie Wells, Michael Irvin and Tatum Bell.
Robinson has the ideal situation at Texas. The Longhorns' running backs have significant depth and the trio of standout running backs Johnathan Gray, Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron. One obstacle Robinson could encounter is how to properly utilize all of the running back talent in 2014.
Bruce Chambers, Tight Ends
|1984-1985||Dallas Carter HS||Freshman Assistant Coach|
|1986-1988||Dallas Carter HS||Junior Varsity Offensive Coordinator|
|1989-1992||Dallas Carter HS||Defensive Coordinator|
|1993-1995||Dallas Carter HS||Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator|
|1996-1997||Dallas Carter HS||Athletics Director/Head Coach|
|2004||Texas||Assistant Head Coach/Tight Ends|
|2005-2012||Texas||Co-Recruiting Coordinator/Tight Ends|
|2013||Texas||Recruiting Coordinator/Tight Ends|
The sole survivor of the Mack Brown era is tight ends coach Bruce Chambers. The Longhorns have not had a great tight end game since Jermichael Finley in 2007, but what Texas has lacked in tight ends, Chambers has made up for in recruiting.
Chambers relates to the Texas high school coaches because he was one of them. His Texas ties and his ability to recruit the state will play a major role in Strong's recruiting.
Chris Rumph, Assistant Head Coach for Defense/Defensive Line
|1997-2001||Calhoun County HS||Head Coach|
|2002||South Carolina State||Secondary|
Former Alabama defensive line coach Chris Rumph will take over Bo Davis' role coaching the Texas defensive line. An interesting note, when Davis left Alabama to come to Texas, Rumph replaced him. Now, Rumph is replacing Davis, and Davis is headed back to Tuscaloosa to coach the Crimson Tide's defensive line.
Got all of that?
In Rumph's time at Clemson, his defenses ranked in the top 25 nationally in total defense. But the numbers his defense picked up at Alabama were impressive. Rumph's defensive line had a three-year average of No. 3 in rushing defense and No. 2 in total defense.
Brian Jean-Mary, Linebackers/Recruiting Coordinator
|2000||Louisville||Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach|
|2001-2002||South Carolina||Graduate Assistant|
|2010-2013||Louisville||Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers|
An area of concern for the Longhorns in 2012 and 2013 was the linebackers, which will make Brian Jean-Mary's job a little difficult upon arrival.
But don't expect Jean-Mary to back down from a challenge. His linebackers led the Cardinals in tackles since 2011, and he coached his defense to placing in the top 25 during his four seasons at Louisville. At Georgia Tech, Jean-Mary recruited the state of Texas and helped the defense rank in the top 30 in five of his six seasons at Tech.
Chris Vaughn, Defensive Backs/Special Teams Coordinator
|2001-2003||Arkansas||Outside Linebackers/Strong Safeties|
|2006||Arkansas||Director of On-Campus Recruiting|
|2008-2011||Ole Miss||Defensive Backs/Recruiting Coordinator|
Let's not beat around the bush, defensive backs coach Chris Vaughn has some big shoes to fill. Former secondary coach Duane Akina helped build Texas into what players call "DBU," due to the vast success Texas defensive backs have had in the NFL under Akina's watch.
Losing Akina was a big blow to Texas, and the microscope will be on Vaughn to see if he can continue the DBU legacy.
His role as special teams coordinator is an area Texas struggled significantly in 2013. The Longhorns ranked No. 73 in punt return defense, allowing an average 8.6 yards per return, and No. 114 in kickoff return defense, allowing 26 yards per return.
Strength and Conditioning
Pat Moorer, Strength and Conditioning
|1992-1994||South Carolina||Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach|
|1995-1996||Florida||Coordinator of Strength and Conditioning|
|1997-1998||Illinois||Director of Strength and Conditioning|
|1999-2009||South Carolina||Director of Strength and Conditioning|
|2010-2013||Louisville||Head Strength and Conditioning Coach|
One word describes Pat Moorer: intense. According to Charlie Strong, Moorer is one intimidating individual.
"The only thing I need to do is stand him up here because he never smiles," Strong said. "He's very intimidating."
If you want to see what Moorer brings as a strength coach, watch this video of "The Pit" and you will have all of the answers you need.
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
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