Charlie Strong's first coaching staff coming together with five hires made

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

The Longhorns now have their defensive staff assembled.

Update 6:40 p.m.: Reports now surfacing that former Louisville offensive coordinator Shawn Watson was introduced as team's new quarterbacks coach.  Same reporting indicating NO new offensive coordinator named or introduced at team meeting.


The coaching staff for the Texas Longhorns and new head coach Charlie Strong is starting to come together after a week of interviews.

On Friday, the defensive staff gained defensive coordinator Vance Bedford and linebacker coach Brian Jean-Mary after both interviewed for the position. Since both had been connected to the job ever since Strong's hire and both had worked for Strong at Louisville, the interviews were likely formalities.

In the evening, the dismissal of defensive back coach Duane Akina became public, ending the longtime tenure of the architect of DBU that stretched back to 2001, interrupted only briefly in 2011 when Akina left for a similar position at Arizona before returning after his replacement, Jerry Gray, was hired as the defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans.

The new cornerback coach for Texas is Chris Vaughn, formerly of Memphis. Known as a strong recruiter during his time working under Houston Nutt at Arkansas and then at Ole Miss, Vaughn was the recruiting coordinator at Ole Miss when the Rebels signed their highly-ranked 2009 class, which was enough for Rivals to name Vaughn one of the top 25 recruiters nationally during that cycle.

A native of Florida, Vaughn played linebacker in college at Murray State and also has experience coaching that position.

And for the second time in as many coaching changes for the Longhorns, the new defensive line coach is from Alabama, though to be specific, Bo Davis was hired as the defensive tackle coach and Chris Rumph has been hired as the coach of the entire defensive line.

The desire to have one coach for the entire line may have fueled the decision to let defensive end coach Oscar Giles go, even after his strong record of development at that position.

Rumph was at Alabama for three years after coming over from Clemson and was credited with the development of Australian defensive tackle Jesse Williams, who arrived at Alabama as a raw junior college prospect. A native of South Carolina, Rumph starred at linebacker for the Gamecocks and spent some time as a high school coach in the state before coaching linebackers at Memphis.

On the offensive side of the ball, things have been a bit more slow to come together, perhaps because Strong has yet to turn his attention to that side of the ball after working to put together his defensive staff.

The only hire so far is running back coach Tommie Robinson, who had spent a year at USC after working with the Arizona Cardinals for three seasons. Prior to that, he worked at Miami, Memphis, and Georgia Tech. A 26-year coaching veteran, Robinson has made numerous other stops as well, including time with the Dallas Cowboys.

In college, he was a safety at Troy State.

Strong will also presumably hire a safeties coach or leave that task to Bedford and opt to hire a coach focusing solely on special teams.

While none of those hires are particularly spectacular, the rumored addition on Sunday could be a massive one for the coaching staff -- Oklahoma State offensive line coach Joe Wickline, who is not returning calls from Cowboys beat writers after reports surfaced that he has accepted the job.

Wickline was a top target for former head coach Mack Brown during the last round of coaching changes, but reportedly turned the job down to stay in Stillwater. Known as one of the best in the business, Wickline has an extensive history of developing under recruited prospects and turning them into NFL players.

As good as Stacy Searels was at Texas -- and the former Georgia offensive line coach certainly did an adequate job, at worst -- Wickline would represent a significant upgrade.

And so at this point, it appears that the only staff member who will stay from Brown's final staff is tight end coach Bruce Chambers, which comes as something of a surprise given the lack of effective recruiting and development at that position.

However, Chambers would provide the ties to the state of Texas that the current staff is mostly missing with the exception of Bedford, who was born in Beaumont and went to Texas. It's also not clear if Chambers will remain as an assistant or a member of the support staff.

On Saturday, rumors continued to circulate about former Louisville offensive coordinator Shawn Watson, but that hire did not come to pass. Rumored candidate Tom Herman of Ohio State has said that he's staying put, so he may no longer be an option. The buzz regarding Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris has died down, presumably due to his buyout.

As Strong works to finalize his staff, what is apparent is that he is intent on putting his own mark on this coaching staff. Rather than talking himself into keeping some of the current coaches, he's going out and finding his guys, most of whom have ties to the Southeast and have coached at multiple positions, especially on the defensive side of the ball, making for a versatile staff that can provide insight on the entire defense.

Still, the toughest task, that of finding an offensive coordinator, is still out there and it's not clear whether Strong will hire a wide receiver coach and possibly a tight end coach before landing the offensive coordinator or if those hires will have to wait.

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