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Reports: Ex-Texas OC Major Applewhite to join Houston staff

Can the former fan favorite get his career back on track?

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State Buckeyes offensive coordinator Tom Herman hasn't even been officially announced as the new head coach of the Houston Cougars, but there's already a report from that former Texas Longhorns offensive coordinator Major Applewhite will join Herman in Houston.

Justin Wells of Inside Texas is reporting the same thing and the assumption is that Applewhite would become Herman's offensive coordinator, though it's possible that he might have to work his way up from the bottom again as a position coach.

The two haven't worked together before, but Herman did follow Applewhite as the offensive coordinator at Rice when the former Texas quarterback left Houston for the offensive coordinator position at Alabama in 2007.

The two do have a recent connection after Applewhite visited with the Ohio State coaching staff this fall.

If Applewhite does indeed land with the Cougars as the offensive coordinator, it would represent a chance for him to get his career back on track after spending the 2014 season out of coaching.

Once a rising star in the coaching ranks, Applewhite went from a graduate assistant at Texas in 2004 to the offensive coordinator job at Alabama in 2007, but after losing his play-calling duties late that season, he opted to take a backwards move back to Austin, joining former head coach Mack Brown's staff as the running backs coach in 2008.

Since then, Applewhite's career stalled as he went down with the floundering Brown regime, though he did eventually ascend to co-offensive coordinator with Bryan Harsin in 2011 and 2012 before taking over offensive coordinator duties in 2013.

He planned on implementing a spread attack utilizing run/pass plays, but the concussion suffered by quarterback David Ash in the season's second game ultimately derailed the offense, which had to morph into a heavier run-focused scheme because of limited quarterback options behind Ash.

Any buzz that was attached to Applewhite's name as an up-and-coming play caller dissipated by that point, even though it was tough to draw any conclusions about his ability as an offensive coordinator from what quickly became a lost season despite some mid-year success.

Now he may be headed to a school known for producing head coaches that go onto bigger jobs, joining a first-time head coach from a coaching tree that has produced a number of assistants who have gone on to success running their own programs, both positive signs for Applewhite.

If it does happen, the hope Herman is able to prove himself as a head coach and help Applewhite get his career back on track.