Texas Longhorns announce new coaching staff

Erich Schlegel

The new head coach introduced his staff at a media availability on Wednesday afternoon.

With a combined 232 years of experience, four coaches with coordinator experience, two coaches with head coaching experience, and three coaches with experience coaching in the NFL, the first staff for new Texas Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong boasts some extensive and impressive resumes.

In an introductory media availability, Strong said that he's comfortable and familiar with the staff he assembled and that they are teachers and role models there to lead and motivate their players, calling them his staff a group of "family men."

It's also a staff that includes two former players in defensive coordinator Vance Bedford and wide receivers coach Les Koenning -- finding former players to fill out the staff was something that Strong said was important to him because they understand the pride and passion of the program.

The hire of former Mississippi State offensive coordinator Les Koenning as wide receivers coach was the ninth and final addition to a staff that will retain only one coach from the Mack Brown era -- tight ends coach Bruce Chambers, who has served as the recruiting coordinator or co-recruiting coordinator at Texas since 2005.

Here's the entire list of assistant coaches:

• Vance Bedford: defensive coordinator/secondary - click for complete release
• Bruce Chambers: tight ends - click for bio
• Brian Jean-Mary: linebackers/recruiting coordinator - click for complete release
• Les Koenning: wide receivers - click for complete release
• Tommie Robinson: running backs - click for complete release
• Chris Rumph: assistant head coach for defense/defensive line - click for complete release
• Chris Vaughn: defensive backs/special teams coordinator - click for complete release
• Shawn Watson: assistant head coach for offense/quarterbacks - click for complete release
• Joe Wickline: offensive coordinator/offensive line - click for complete release
• Pat Moorer: head strength and conditioning coach for football - click for complete release

Of course, the even bigger story on Wednesday than the hire of Koenning and his return to Austin was the situation with the offense, namely which coach will call plays.

Strong revealed that it will be Wickline handling those duties in his first season as an offensive coordinator since 1987 at Delta State, though the word from Oklahoma State is that Wickline was heavily involved in play calling this year after Mike Yurcich took over as the offensive coordinator following Todd Monken's departure.

The former Oklahoma State offensive line coach is expected to bring the up-tempo offense run at Oklahoma State to Texas, which Strong has said is something that he prefers, as well as providing the tutelage in the running game. According to Strong, it will be a spread look, but one with balance -- Auburn, Oklahoma, and Stanford were all offenses mentioned by the Texas head coach.

"At the end of the day if you can't run downhill and punch somebody in the mouth, you're going to have issues," Strong said.

That isn't to say that Watson won't be heavily involved in the offense, however. Strong said that the offense will be a collaboration. It wouldn't be a surprise to find out that even Koenning has some influence on its direction with his extensive experience as an offensive coordinator.

The other storyline surrounding Wickline regards his contract buyout with Oklahoma State, which specifies that he must be an offensive coordinator with play calling duties for the Longhorns to avoid paying that fee to the Cowboys. The buyout is thought to be significant.

One has to hope that avoiding paying that buyout wasn't the primary reason for Wickline getting the nod as the play caller.

From Wickline's standpoint, the opportunity to be the offensive coordinator was surely a big reason for his departure from Stillwater after turning down a chance to become the Texas offensive line coach three years ago.

Before heading out on the road recruiting Thursday as the dead period ends and the Horns try to close out the 2014 with a bang and retain all the current members of the class, Strong has been meeting with each player one-on-one to let them know that he's not satisfied with the current state of the program.

Strong said that he's been having "fun" hearing the ideas the players have about the football program and that the players know the expectations are higher moving forward.

And even though there is a culture change going on that will include much more rigorous workouts with Moorer, Strong said that he's not interested in running players off -- he believes that he's here to help them get an education. If there are players thinking about leaving, Strong will do everything possible to keep them from leaving.

There are some major changes in effect, however, including bringing players back onto campus so that the older players can live with the younger players to teach them about what it takes to succeed at the college level.

It's all part of the transition from a group to a team to a family, according to Strong.

That process won't truly start until spring practice, which Strong said will begin after spring break, several weeks later than normal, as former head coach Mack Brown liked to have spring practice broken up by the one-week break.

At that point, Strong and his Horns will get to work on achieving his goals.

"When you're the top program in the country, you have to be about championships," Strong said.

Yessir.

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