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Texas Longhorns Assistant Coaching Staff

NCAA Football: Tulane at Houston Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

(UPDATED 11/29 9:30 AM)

It’s been confirmed that none of Charlie Strong’s prior staff will be retained following Tom Herman’s meetings with staff yesterday morning.

As Tom Herman’s staff begins to take shape, I figured we could keep a running tally of the hires and names that have been floating around each of the key positions. We’ll update this as news comes in.

Offensive Coordinator

The Guy: Nobody yet.

The Candidates:

Major Applewhite (OC, Houston)

Teh Maje certainly needs no introduction around these parts.

Offensive Line

The Guy: Derek Warehime (former OL coach, Houston)

Warehime joined Herman’s Houston staff in 2015 following stints at New Mexico (Run Game Coordinator and Special Teams Coordinator 2014, TE’s coach 2012-13), Sam Houston State (OL coach 2010-11) and Arkansas-Monticello (Offensive Coordinator 2009, OL and TE’s 2008).


In his inaugural season at U of H, Warehime’s OL paved the way for the #33 S&P+ offensive attack in the nation alongside a #41 mark in Rushing S&P+. The 2016 attack fell off to #57 and #88 respectively, though it must be said that in the back half of the season the Houston offensive front resembled the 2015 Longhorn back seven in terms of functional experience after someone apparently set off a Claymore mine in the OL meeting room. The Cougar run game was primarily comprised of the Inside Zone, Power and Counter looks that Longhorn fans saw a lot of from Gilbert and Mattox this season, along with plenty of Power Read to take advantage of Greg Ward’s legs and some Outside Zone as well.

Warehime was particularly beloved by Cougar alums, as his surname is derived from the German phrase for “Home of Andre Ware.” Hopefully this won’t translate into wild-eyed anti-Longhorn bias should he ever find his way into a broadcasting booth.

New Mexico finished 21st in Rushing S&P+ under Warehime’s leadership in 2014.

Stats aren’t readily available for the Fighting Anti-Federalists of Arkansas-Monticello, but Warehime presumably learned how to combine a down-home country work ethic and back-porch country witticisms with a sophisticated Jeffersonian grasp of philosophy and the Classics. Which should come in handy.

Wide Receivers

The Guy: Nobody yet.

The Candidates:

Darrell Wyatt (WR Coach/Recruiting Coordinator, Houston)

Tight Ends

The Guy: Corby Meekins (former TE coach, Houston)

Jeff Traylor’s position on the staff gets swapped out for a Jeff Traylor analogue, as Meekins joined the Cougar coaching staff in 2015 following a fifteen-year stint at Houston Westfield that saw him bag seven district titles and ten playoff trips that culminated in six quarterfinals berths, three in the semis and one 6A title game appearance.


Just looks like a mean ol’ cuss, don’t he?

Running Backs

The Guy: Nobody yet.

The Candidates:

It sounds like Meekins could end up in the running backs slot if Herman’s rumored pursuit of Florida State’s Tim Brewster comes to pass.

Defensive Coordinator

The Guy: Nobody yet.

The Candidates:

Todd Orlando (Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach, Houston)

Orlando is currently holding down the interim HC gig at Houston and it sounds like he’ll interview for the head coaching position, but there are plenty of names swirling around that spot so it’s probably more likely than not that he’s ultimately available. His 2015 unit led the nation in takeaways and came in 20th in scoring defense, and he also mentored All-Conference linebackers Elandon Roberts and Steven Taylor. The timing of an Orlando hire wouldn’t be ideal - particularly when it comes to the pursuit of likely early-enrollee studs Baron Browning and Anthony Hines - but if Herman can work the phones and get one or both of those guys to put off his decision until late December/early January then they could still be in play.

Defensive Line

The Guy: Oscar Giles (former DL coach, Houston)

Giles returns to the 40 Acres after a two-year stint as Defensive Line and Associate Head Coach in Houston. Giles’ unit turned in some impressive showings against big-time offenses in wins over Florida State, Oklahoma and Louisville during his two seasons under Herman.


Giles spent the 2005-2013 seasons coaching defensive ends under Mack Brown in Austin, where he developed two Ted Hendricks Award winners in Jackson Jeffcoat and Brian Orakpo, two other Hendricks finalists in Sergio Kindle and Tim Crowder alongside assorted badasses like Alex Okafor, Sam Acho and Brian Robison.


The Guy: Nobody yet.

The Candidates:

Haven’t heard much here yet, though if Orlando nabs the DC spot he may do double duty with the ‘backers as he did at U of H.

Defensive Backs

The First Guy: Jason Washington, Cornerbacks (Former Cornerbacks Coach and Special Teams Coordinator, Houston)

Washington joined the Cougars coaching staff in 2015 following stints as an overall secondary coach (Texas State, 2014) and other cornerback coaching gigs (Texas State ‘04-’06 and ‘11-13, Rice ‘07-10)

His Cougar units were very handsy as the Cougar defense was fourth in the nation in passes broken up (87) and seventh nationally in INTs (21) in 2015.


He helped mold Coogs corner William Jackson III into a first-round selection for the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Tom Herman loves him some special teams:

"We need to be dominant in the field position battles, basically." Herman said.

Houston was fifth in the country in average defensive field position last year, with opponents taking the ball at their own 26-yard line. That was despite Houston being 43rd in drive efficiency, only averaging 40 yards per punt and having a relatively average placekicking game.

And Washington’s special teams units notched stout marks in 2015 (led by a #14 ranking in FEI Kick Return Efficiency and #17 in Kickoff Efficiency) and solid marks in 2016 despite average-at-best play from Houston’s specialty players. The search for a kicker or two should get underway early (hopefully walk-on and Craig Way FEC violation threat Chris Naggar can fill the bill there) and O HAI, MICHAEL DICKSON!

The Second Guy: Craig Naivar, Safeties (Former Assistant Head Coach/Co-DC/Safeties Coach, Houston)

Naivar joined the Cougars staff in 2015 following recent stints at Kentucky (Special Teams Coordinator and Safeties, 2014), Texas State (Defensive Coordinator and Safeties, 2011-13) and Rice (Special Teams and DL, 2010 and DC/Safeties 2007-09).


Naivar’s guys seem to find the ball with regularity - his safety tandem of Adrian Stewart and Traivon McDonald combined for eight INTs and fumble recoveries in 2015 as the Cougar defense led the nation in takeaways.

Nahlin at IT likes Naivar’s recruiting chops, and Naivar was also the first D-1 coach to give Tom Herman his shot at Sam Houston State and who helped successfully lobby for Herman to get the OC/Quarterback coaching gig at Texas State despite Herman bringing no previous college experience in either capacity. Game recognize game, IMO.

Having Giles, Washington and Naivar all on board would seem to augur favorably for Todd Orlando’s chances to ultimately land the DC gig in Austin - particularly since the split of CB and Safety duties probably mean that the defensive coordinator will also have linebacker coaching responsibilities (an Orlando specialty).