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Mississippi State OC Les Koenning Longhorn WR coach - staff complete.

According to ESPN's Max Olson this completes the Longhorn staff.

Les Koenning is a coaching veteran who has been an Offensive Coordinator, QBs coach, and position coach at Texas A&M, Mississippi State, TCU, Duke, Houston and Rice.  He played WR for Fred Akers here at Texas. Koenning also served as the Dawg's recruiting coordinator.  Interestingly, his two most significant coaching stints as an offensive coordinator were under Dennis Franchione and Dan Mullen, two offensive coaches known for meddling and involving themselves quite a bit in offensive game planning and play calling.  Depending on your perspective, that's good or bad news given the uneven performance of some of those units.

The better news is that Koenning is widely respected as a pure teacher and evaluator at several positions.


A few broader thoughts:

No Splash Offensive Coordinator Hire

The speculation was fun, wasn't it?  That doesn't mean a splash hire wasn't attempted, or that the final chapter is yet written, but it looks like this is our staff.  Perhaps we should acclimate ourselves to the idea that Charlie Strong assembles teams with little consideration for splash or media impact.  He hired Joe Wickline not because it would make internet coaching cultists like us happy, but because he believes Wickline is the best possible hire.

Perhaps it's not just Texas players who will need to adjust their mindsets.

Charlie Strong coaches football.

When in doubt on any subject, assessing "optics", discussing internal politics and projecting Machiavellian genius, or courting fan/media perception, refer back to that statement.

The Amazing Bruce Chambers

Barring some 11th hour re-shuffling, Bruce Chambers will be retained as a TE coach and not repurposed into a recruiting support role.  Given his experience as the Longhorn recruiting coordinator, his (short-term) retention is explicable as Strong tries to finish 2014 with a bang and learn the Texas landscape in 2015.

That written, in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse, I'm going to Chambers' house.  He has strands of coyote-rat-cockroach DNA.  And though some of those animals may not have positive connotations in the popular imagination, they're kicking the hell out of cuter animals like pandas and beluga whales on the Darwinian scale of survival.  You're welcome to meerkats, I'm taking coyotes.  If you see Bruce Chambers walking down the street wearing a welder's helmet and carrying a chainsaw, take note.  He's either going LARPing in Pease Park or he knows that it's about to go down.

Staff Age

This is an experienced staff with a lot of skins on the wall - not a youth movement.  It's built based on Strong's peer groups (Strong is 53 - going on 35) with the clear intention of shaping things up and winning now.  While it's often easy to link staff experience with a decline in staff energy, consider the dominant personalities: Strong, Wickline, Moorer, and Bedford.

Ultimately, the head coach sets the tone for energy and program focus. I don't think self-satisfaction or complacency will be an issue.  I'm expecting the struggles to be more along the lines of inflexibility or tone deafness.

Offensive Coordinator Crowdsourcing?

Shawn Watson, Joe Wickline, Tommie Robinson, and Les Koenning all have offensive coordinator, passing game coordinator, or running game coordinator experience on their resumes.  While Watson and Wickline may split the titular OC duties (we blindly speculate while flailing about randomly in the absence of our accustomed leaks), I'm starting to think that Texas will adopt a broad staff approach to offensive game planning and schematic development with Joe Wickline taking the obvious lead in the running game.  This group has a wide range of spread iterations, West Coast, and NFL traditional backgrounds to pull from. Does that create a rich gumbo of options, idea exchange, and flexibility from a bunch of veteran coaches with minimal ego or is it too many chefs in the kitchen?

What will our core identity be? It's certainly the antithesis of the One Great Man view of coordination (i.e. get Gus Malzahn, Chad Morris).

Who is the play caller?  In-game OL duties seem to make Wickline an impossibility.  Is the answer as elementary as Watson? Are we going to get tired of Elementary, Dear Watson puns as quickly as Strong puns?  There's a Strong likelihood, Sherlock.

National Recruiting Emphasis

Mack Brown's decision to prioritize Texas kids began as smart PR and a much needed re-establishment of relationships with high school coaches after the icy Mackovic years, but what began as wise short-term tactics calcified into an excuse not to work particularly hard on the trail, a reluctance to unearth hidden talent (that wouldn't drive themselves to a Longhorn camp), and work outside of comfort zones.  Brown used to champion how few out-of-state trips his staff took as good financial stewardship along with specious Offer to Commitment metrics that purported to demonstrate the value of a Texas offer.  Let's not even get into the "If a kid doesn't immediately accept a Texas offer in his junior year and wants to take a trip to Stanford at some point, we don't want him cuz he's not a true Longhorn!" fallacy.

Welcome to a new world.

Strong has a staff that should cover the Texas talent corridor effectively with the added bonus of deep, historical relationships in Florida, the Southeast, with just a hint of Southern California.  We'll be offering more national recruits (and getting more rejections).  We'll also be pursuing athletes up until National Signing Day.

This is good.

Texas should recruit to an absolute standard.  The best position talent in Texas is inconsistent from year to year. 2014's feast at Defensive Back might be followed by 2015's drought.  Taking "one of the best QBs in the state" is a relatively meaningless statement if that same QB is marginal.

If that absolute standard is met in-state, fantastic.  Load up.  But when it isn't - Eric Metcalf, Ricky Williams, Kasey Studdard, Bryant Westbrook, Chris Simms, Pat Fitzgerald, Lyle Sendlein and Major Applewhite were all pretty good players for us. The idea that Texas has the monopoly on good football every year at every position is parochial at best, awesomely ignorant at worst.

Your thoughts?