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Reconfigured Texas coaching staff will pose offseason challenge for Tom Herman

Herman will now split the staff evenly between offense and defense as he prepares to teach his culture to new assistants.

Texas Tech v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

With both new coordinators now in place, the days after the Alamo Bowl will feature offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich and defensive coordinator Chris Ash working with Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman to assess the remaining assistants on the staff and determining whether to retain them.

With Yurcich expected to work with the quarterbacks and Ash likely to coach the safeties, the means decisions about incumbents like running backs coach Stan Drayton, tight ends coach Derek Warehime, offensive line coach Herb Hand, defensive line coach Oscar Giles, cornerbacks coach Jason Washington and safeties coach Craig Naivar.

Yurcich will also have to decide whether he wants to retain interim wide receivers coach Andre Coleman, who served as an offensive analyst this season before taking over for Drew Mehringer following his termination. The decision defensively should be easier — interim linebackers coach Jeremiah George is unlikely to maintain his interim promotion from defensive analyst because he doesn’t have any other prior coaching experience.

Herman and his new coordinators have already talked about one important change in potentially adding a defensive tackles coach for Ash’s even front. For the last two years, Texas had two wide receivers coaches, giving the offense two more assistants than the defense. Now that will change, Herman confirmed on Monday.

“Definitely five on offense, five on defense,” Herman said. “The five on defense preliminarily, I don’t want to box myself into a corner, but in our early talks, safeties coach, corners coach, linebacker coach, then tackles and ends coach. Again, that’s far from being finalized.”

The other significant decision will come in regards to special teams, a role held in 2019 by Warehime.

“The one thing that Chris and Mike and I have both talked about is when it comes to special teams, let’s find the right guys, find the right guys offensively and defensively. When we were at Ohio State, we were top 10 in the country in special teams. Each coach ran a team. They did it really well,” Herman said.

“But if there is a guy out there that fits, a tight end/special teams, D-line/special teams, that’s a feather in his cap, then certainly we’ll look at it that way.”

Entering bowl season, Texas ranked No. 12 in special teams SP+, but struggled at times with decision making on punt return and didn’t produce much on kickoff returns outside of a touchdown late in the game against Rice.

Once Herman and his coordinators finalize the staff in the coming weeks, the head coach will undertake the task of teaching his culture to the new hires. After largely hiring coaches he’d worked with before at Houston and then bringing most of that staff with him to Austin, Herman admitted that it will be a relatively new experience for him as a head coach.

“This is going to be a very important off-season for me as the head coach in terms of teaching our culture and our way of doing things to some of these new coaches. I haven’t had to do that in a long time,” Herman said.

“But I’m excited for that challenge, too. I’m excited to almost show off the way that we do things from a cultural standpoint and from an accountability standpoint.”

Change is difficult, Herman noted, but he also added that he’s excited about the prospect of learning from his new coordinators — he only spent one year with Ash at Ohio State and hasn’t worked with Yurcich before.

“I’m excited to learn, too, I mean, especially from these two coordinators,” Herman said. “I mean, they’re guys that have unbelievable track records, philosophically they’re very aligned with what I think Texas football should look like. Obviously there’s nuances here and there that I’ll be able to learn, too.”