Head coach Tom Herman expects the Texas Longhorns coaching staff to remain intact this offseason, but he did announce two changes in roles, as tight ends coach Derek Warehime has added the title of special teams coordinator and safeties coach Craig Naivar, the former special teams coordinator, is now also a co-defensive coordinator under Todd Orlando.
Naivar held the role of special teams coordinator since arriving in Austin with Herman two years ago, but the demands of coaching the safeties prompted Herman to make the change.
“That will free quite a bit of responsibility off of Coach Naivar to help out more defensively, especially there’s a lot of game plans where he’s coaching, you know, five guys sometimes, and four or five guys,” Herman said.
Texas ranked No. 73 nationally in special teams FEI in 2017, largely due to issues connecting on field goals and returning punts efficiently. Last season, the Longhorns jumped up to No. 47, aided by the presence of Cameron Dicker at kicker, but still struggled with kick return efficiency and punt efficiency.
So there are areas where Warehime could help the Longhorns improve on special teams in 2019 beyond the maturation of Dicker and punter Ryan Bujcevski. Warehime has previous experience in that role, as he held that title at New Mexico during the 2014 season.
Despite the two changes, Herman will enter his third season with his original staff still in place, a remarkable stretch of continuity for a program that struggled with coaching turnover for years. The Texas head coach believes that will benefit the program.
“It’s really important to have the same offensive system, the same defensive system, the same position coach,” Herman said. “I mean, how many kids — I’m trying to think if we’ve got a true junior that might be coming out early. But, you know, if you’re a true junior and you come out early (following the 2019 season) and you’ve had the same position coach and the same coordinator your entire career at Texas, and we’re proud of that. Very proud of that.”