Bryan Harsin

In the midst of the third quarter of the 2001 Holiday Bowl, the odds weren’t looking too good for the freckle-faced redhead to lead his team to a win.

Down 36-20 going into the fourth quarter, senior quarterback and team captain Major Applewhite furiously powered a previously turnover-prone Texas team to a 20-point onslaught, giving the Longhorns a 40-36 lead. The Huskies found the end zone one last time before Applewhite marched Texas into the end zone with a mere 38 seconds remaining, earning him Offensive MVP honors.

Eleven years later, another Longhorns quarterback would claim a bowl win with a fourth-quarter comeback of his own. This time, Applewhite was on the sideline, making his debut as co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

The Baton Rouge native comes with charisma, energy and an impressive resume. He learned the ropes of coaching as a graduate assistant coach under Mack Brown for two years. He was Syracuse’s quarterbacks coach in 2005; Rice’s offensive coordinator in 2006, when the Owls scored the most points in school history; and Alabama’s offensive coordinator in 2007.

Despite an impressive stint in Tuscaloosa, Applewhite was drawn back to his burnt orange roots and joined the Texas coaching staff as assistant head coach and running backs coach in 2008. In January 2011, he was promoted to co-offensive coordinator.

Several weeks before the Alamo Bowl, co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bryan Harsin left Texas to take over as the head coach at Arkansas State.

Applewhite continued to serve as co-offensive coordinator but also took on the role of play-caller and quarterbacks coach.

Brown had long been coaxing Applewhite into preparation for the position.

“I told Major, ‘You need to put yourself in position as the play-caller every day, because that day is going to come fast, and when it comes, you need to be ready,’” Brown said of Applewhite’s new position.

Brown also has full faith in Applewhite’s capabilities as play-caller for his team.

“Major has never lacked for confidence,” Brown said. “When I called him and said, ‘Bryan’s going. Are you ready to call plays?’ And of course he said, ‘Yes, sir. See you in the morning.’”

The first opportunity Applewhite had to showcase his play-calling abilities came in the Alamo Bowl against a favored Oregon State team.

No stranger to bowl games, Applewhite played in four and coached in eight. But with increasing pressure on his quarterback to deliver after an up-and-down regular season, many were left wondering how Applewhite would fare, how his quarterback would perform and if the team would be doomed to a second straight 8-5 season.

For the first half of the game, it was difficult to tell. The offense struggled to perform as Oregon State racked up several touchdowns, leaving the Longhorns 10 points behind heading into the fourth quarter.

But as the final 15 minutes on the clock began to wind down, Ash began to come alive, powering two touchdowns that ultimately allowed Texas to etch one more win on its record.

Ash’s performance in the second half inspired hope that perhaps next year will be a more successful year for Texas, as Ash becomes more comfortable in his position.

Only time will tell whether Applewhite will make that difference. But for now, he knows what he has to do to get Ash to that point.

“It’s not about the X’s and O’s, it’s really about just the culture of our program and demanding more of our guys, demanding more of our coaches, and that’s where we’re going to improve as a ball club,” Applewhite said.

Major Applewhite, who recently took over the playcalling responsibilities, looks onto the field of a previous Texas game. 

When Bryan Harsin was named Texas’ co-offensive coordinator and given play-calling responsibilities in 2011, Mack Brown knew who Harsin’s successor would be.

“I told Major [Applewhite], ‘You need to put yourself in a position as the play-caller every day, because that day is going to come fast, and when it comes, you need to be ready’,” Brown said.

Sure enough, when Harsin got his first career head coaching gig at Arkansas State last month, it was Applewhite who immediately took over his duties as the team’s play-caller and quarterbacks coach. In his first game in his new role, Applewhite’s Longhorns offense stalled in the first quarter of the Valero Alamo Bowl against Oregon State on Dec. 29. But Texas scored touchdowns on each of its final drives, overcoming a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Beavers, 31-27.

“It’s not about the X’s and O’s, it’s really just about the culture of our program and demanding more of our guys,” Applewhite said after the Alamo Bowl victory. “Tonight, the way we needed to win the game was to spread them out, throw it, clear some loose lanes for the quarterback to run the ball and be effective.

Applewhite previously served as Texas’ running back coach, leaving a vacancy in the Longhorns coaching staff. It was filled by Larry Porter, who coached running backs at Oklahoma State, LSU and, most recently, Arizona State.

He went 3-21 in the 2010 amd 2011 seasons as the head coach at Memphis and will be working with a talented Texas backfield that includes Johnathan Gray, Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron.

“We are very excited to have Larry Porter joining our staff,” Brown said. “During his time at Oklahoma State and LSU, he did a tremendous job recruiting Dallas and Houston. He has also worked with two of our current coaches in [defensive tackles coach] Bo Davis and [offensive line coach] Stacy Searels in previous positions and has been friends with [wide receivers coach] Darrell Wyatt for a number of years.

“I’m just really excited to be joining what I think is the best program in the country,” Porter said. “Having the opportunity to work under a man like Coach Brown, who I look at as a legend in college football, is an honor and a privilege. He has done so much for college football and is so well respected.”

In the Longhorns’ nine wins this past season, they averaged 203.9 rushing yards per game and averaged 5 yards per carry. In their four losses, they ran for 98.5 yards per game and averaged only 3.1 yards per carry.

Harsin heads to an Arkansas State program that has seen each of its last two head coaches hired by SEC squads.

Hugh Freeze, who went 6-6 in his first season as the head coach at Ole Miss this year, was the Red Wolves’ head coach in 2011 while Guz Malzahn was named Auburn’s head coach last month after leading Arkansas State to a Sun Belt title last year.

“He’s a bright young coach with great enthusiasm and passion for the kids and the game. He’ll do a tremendous job at Arkansas State,” Mack Brown said of Harsin. “He feels like it is a great situation for him. We’re happy any time our coaches have the opportunity to be a head coach. I think that is a great reflection of the types of coaches we are fortunate enough to have in our program.”

Among the other coaching changes made include Wyatt being promoted to co-offensive coordinator, making him the first African-American coordinator in Texas history. Offensive line coach Stacy Searels was promoted to assistant head coach for offense and tight end coach Bruce Chambers now handles the primary recruiting coordinator duties, which he previously shared with Wyatt.

Published on January 14, 2013 as "Applewhite takes over play-calling". 

Bryan Harsin officially becomes head coach at Arkansas State, Major Applewhite to take over playcalling duties

Former Longohrns offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin has officially been named the head coach at Arkansas State, Texas announced Wedensday afternoon.

With Harsin's departure, Major Applewhite will retain his title as co-offensive coordinator and will now assume the playcalling duties while wide receivers coach Darrell Wyatt has been promoted to co-offensive coordinator. Among the other staff changes are Stacy Searels' move from offensive line coach to assistant head coach for offense. With the promotion of Wyatt, who tight ends coach Bruce Chambers split recruiting duties with, Chambers will now handle the recruiting responsibilities on his own.

Texas also announced that it will begin looking for a running backs coach, a role that Applewhite had while serving as co-offensive coordinator for the last two seasons.

"[Bryan] has done a tremendous job fo us, and we appreciate all the energy he's poured into our program the past two seasons," Longhorns head coach Mack Brown said in a statement. "He's a bright young head coach with great enthusiasm and passion for the kids and the game. He'll do a tremendous job at Arkansas State. Because of the great support and resources [men's athletics director] DeLoss Dodds, [UT president] Bill Powers and The University of Texas provide us, our coaches are well compensated and in a position that they can focus all of their energy on our program and be patient when it comes to future opportunitites. We're excited for Bryan because after visiting with the folks at Arkansas State, he feels like it is a great situation for him. We're happy any time our coaches have the opportunity to be a head coach. I think that is a great reflection of the types of coaches we are fortunate enough to have in our program."

Applewhite, who left Texas as its all-time leading passer in 2002, was a graduate assistant for the Longhorns from 2003-04. After spending a year as the quarterbacks coach at Syracuse (2005), Rice (2006), and Alabama (2007), he returned to Texas to serve as the running backs coach. In 2010, he was promoted to co-offensive coordinator following the departure of Greg Davis.

He'll make his playcalling debut when the Longhorns take on Oregon State in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29.

Reports: Texas co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin to be named Arkansas State head coach

Bryan Harsin's brief tenure as Texas' co-offensive coordinator appears to be over.

Harsin, who joined the Longhorns' coaching staff last January, will be named Arkansas State's head football coach Wednesday, according to multiple reports, one by's James Bryant among the first. Since he took over as Texas' co-offensive coordinator, Harsin's offense ranked in the bottom half of the Big 12 in both scoring and total offense in each of his two seasons on the job. This will be Harsin's first college head coaching job.

After Texas went 5-7 in 2010, the program's first losing season since 1997, Harsin was one of six new members to join the Longhorns' coaching staff before the beginning of the next season. Garrett Gilbert won a four-man battle for the starting quarterback spot before the 2011 campaign but underwent season-ending shoulder surgery and transferred to SMU after starting only two games. David Ash and Case McCoy have had their moments but have failed to separate themselves from one another since.

Harsin takes over for an Arkansas State team that went 9-3 and won its second Sun Belt Conference title since joining the league in 2005. After less than a year on the job, former Red Wolves head coach Gus Malzahn left to become the head coach at Auburn, where he was an offensive coordinator from 2009-11. Senior quarterback Ryan Aplin passed for 3,129 yards, 23 touchdowns and four interceptions last year. Aplin will leave Arkansas State as the Sun Belt's all-time leading passer.

Malzahn became the second straight coach to use Arkansas State as a stepping stone to the SEC. His predecessor, Hugh Freeze, went 6-6 in his first season as the head coach at Ole Miss this year.

A press conference is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon to make Harsin's hiring official.  

Senior punter Alex King (15) came to Texas after serving as the Duke Blue Devils' punter for the past four seasons. King also handled the quarterback duties for the Blue Devils' scout team, as well as playing the position in high school.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

The depth chart experienced a huge change this week at quarterback, as Case McCoy assumes the starting role. However, that’s not even the most shocking transition, because a punter is now the third-string signal caller.

Alex King, Texas’ starting punter, will be tasked with the responsibility of learning a few select plays in the emergency that McCoy gets hurt and David Ash is unable to play due to a rib injury he sustained in last Thursday’s loss to TCU.

“He was out there throwing with the quarterbacks last night,” head coach Mack Brown said. “I told [co-offensive coordinator] Bryan [Harsin] to put him right in the middle of it because we have no guarantees.”

It may sound ridiculous to have a punter fill in quarterback, but King grew up playing the position in North Carolina, and was an all-state selection at Phillips Exeter Academy in New England during his post-graduate year. He also served as the emergency quarterback in his time at Duke. King transferred to Texas this season to pursure a graduate degree after spending his first four years with the Blue Devils.

“Alex is an athlete,” offensive guard Mason Walters said. “We have faith in him. I saw him throw the ball around a little bit yesterday, I was impressed.”

King received the backup nod over freshmen quarterbacks Connor Brewer and Jalen Overstreet. Brown doesn’t wish to burn their redshirt seasons by putting them for only a few plays in one game.

Both freshmen have yet to see a snap this season. If a situation forced either one of them to enter the game on Saturday, it would waste an entire year of eligibility.

“It’s one of those reasons I think we should have five years of eligibility,” Brown said. “I would love to bring one of those freshmen out to let them play. Still, you put them in for three plays against Kansas State and it costs them a year. I don’t think that’s fair.”

Brown also discussed the possibility of using one of the other many athletes on the roster that played quarterback in high school instead of King, such as safety Mykkele Thompson.

However, Brown doesn’t want to take away depth from other positions and also felt that King, a fifth-year senior, is more mentally prepared to handle the role.

“We’re in a position where none of them have played and none of them have taken any snaps,” Brown said. “We feel that Alex is smart. He’s mature. And he’s older. We’ll give him a limited package and not have to take someone out of position anywhere else.”

King’s package of plays will be limited. Co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin taught him a few running plays at the beginning of the season, and now his role will expand to encompass a few pass plays. But the playbook will be simple.

This isn’t the first time a non-quarterback has prepared in a backup role for Texas. In 2006, when Colt McCoy was injured and then-backup Jevan Sneed decided to transfer, wide receiver Quan Cosby prepared to take snaps if necessary. He learned five plays, but never had to enter a game.

The coaching staff hopes it’s the same case with King. But they know one thing. He’d be the best quick-kick quarterback they’ve ever had.

“We actually used him last night, Harsin said. “He took a couple shots down the field. He dropped back seven steps, punted it, right on the money. Hit a spiral.”

Despite a promising start to the season, sophomore running back Malcolm Brown (28) has failed to make an impact in a majority of the Longhorns' games. In order for Texas to reach its full potential running the ball, brown must get more involved in the Texas offensive game plan. (Daily Texan file photo)

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

The man behind center is always going to be the one under the most scrutiny, the one who gets the most credit for wins and the most blame for losses.

But it doesn’t matter if David Ash, Case McCoy or Alex King is taking the snaps for the Longhorns if they can’t figure how to run the ball. Here’s a suggestion: get Malcolm Brown more touches.

Johnathan Gray has been great in spurts, Joe Bergeron has proven to be effective in short-yardage situations and Daje Johnson is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. But the missing piece to Texas’ offense is an every-down tailback that can move the chains on 3rd-and-1 one play and reel off a 30-yard touchdown run on the next.

So why did Malcolm Brown’s sure hands not touch the ball once in the Longhorns’ loss to TCU last week?

“We’ve got to get Malcolm Back in the mix,” co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin said. “It’s nothing against Malcolm, it’s just getting him back in there. Johnathan and Joe continue to play at a high level. They’re doing a nice job. But you don’t want to spread it too think to where no one gets enough reps in the game and no one gets into a rhythm.”

Brown, who missed five games with a left ankle injury, has gotten 10 carries in two games this year, the victories over Wyoming and Ole Miss. He rushed for 100 yards and at least one touchdown in each of those contests. If there’s anyone that Harsin should be worried about getting in a rhythm, it should be Brown.

“We didn’t run it much the other night,” head coach Mack Brown said of Texas’ 20-13 loss to TCU this Thanksgiving. “It wasn’t a running game night. I wish it would have been. But when you’re not balanced against a running defense that’s holding people to 98 yards and you can’t throw it — we were inept throwing it, we dropped about five or six passes — so it took away our ability to run it late.”

Texas’ quarterback situation is a dire one. The fact that senior punter Alex King could serve as the team’s backup quarterback if David Ash, who is listed as questionable with a rib injury, doesn’t play says it all.
Ash committed three turnovers in the first half against TCU while McCoy tossed an interception that sealed the Horned Frogs’ victory in the disappointing loss on Thanksgiving. Texas averaged a season-low 2.6 yards per carry in the defeat, a number that has to improve in its regular season finale if it wants to upset Kansas State.

“You have to be able to run the ball against any team, especially against good teams,” junior guard Mason Walters said. “If you can do that, it gives you a chance to win the game. It takes them out of their offense and Kansas State has a really good offense. Being able to stay on the field, being able to run the ball are going to be key things.”

Harsin and Brown can talk all they want about why Malcolm Brown didn’t get the ball much against TCU and why he needs to get it more against Kansas State. But they’re the ones making decisions on game day.

So decide to get Malcolm Brown the ball.

Mack Brown named Case McCoy Texas’ starting quarterback for Saturday’s game against the No. 6  Wildcats. 

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

A full year since his last start, Case McCoy is once again atop the depth chart.

On Monday, head coach Mack Brown announced that McCoy will start this weekend’s game at Kansas State after David Ash sustained a rib injury in last week’s loss to TCU. Ash is listed as questionable this week. This will be the first time this season someone other than Ash has started under center, but this is the sixth time in the last 24 games the Longhorns have switched starting quarterbacks. 

The last time McCoy started a game was in last year’s regular season finale against Baylor, a game in which he threw three touchdowns, four interceptions and lost two fumbles.

“This is a great opportunity for him [McCoy] to do what he did at Kansas, drive us down for two touchdowns and score late to win the game, instead of his last experience at Baylor,” Brown said.

Brown was unclear when asked about Ash’s future as the starter at Texas, and refused to commit on Ash’s long-term standing at quarterback.

“I see David being a good player in the future,” Brown said for the second time when asked if Ash was his starter in the future.

Co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin went on to echo Brown’s statement when asked if Ash would be the starter this week if he were healthy.

“This week would be a week when both the guys would’ve had an opportunity to compete as the week went on, with the way the game [the loss to TCU] went,” Harsin said.

McCoy has been effective in relief of Ash this season, throwing a pair of touchdowns in garbage time against Oklahoma, leading a game-winning comeback versus Kansas and engineering a late-game push in the final minutes of the TCU game.

In seven appearances this season, McCoy has thrown for 408 yards, four touchdowns, one interception and has a 66.7 completion percentage. Over 60 percent of the offensive drives he’s started have resulted in points. 

“The best thing about Case is that he hasn’t been the starter, but he hasn’t been sitting at home or doing something other than playing football,” offensive guard Mason Walters said. “He’s been keyed in the whole time. I’ve got confidence in him being able to come in and run the game plan and not have any drop off of that confidence.”

McCoy brings a slightly different element to the Longhorns’ attack with his scrambling ability, but Harsin was clear the offensive scheme won’t change with McCoy under center. Brown added that he wouldn’t alter the offense to accommodate McCoy’s arm strength.

“No concern about his arm strength,” Brown said. “It’s good enough to win.”

McCoy started five games last season and went 3-2. However, he lost the starting role for good after Texas’ 24-point loss to Baylor. Ash has started every game since, beginning with the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl last December.

Printed on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 as: McCoy in, Ash out for Kansas State game

Sophomore tight end Greg Daniels (81) hauls in a pass from David Ash on the first play from scrimmage during the Longhorns' 33-7 win over Iowa State. Both Daniels and senior Barrett Matthews have made tight end an area of strength for the Longhorns after a recent stretch of ineffectiveness at the position. Daniels and Matthews are now considered integral pieces of the Longhorns' offense.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

Senior tight end Barrett Matthews and sophomore tight end Greg Daniels have been used sparingly in the passing game this season, with their biggest contributions coming in the run game. However, that changed against Iowa State.

Each player was lined up on the Longhorns’ first offensive snap of the game – scheduled to be Texas’ wishbone tribute to Darrell K Royal — and both made a major impact.

Matthews was on the field to block, the Longhorns threw a double-reverse pass, and he had to hold up a collapsing linebacker to make the play work. It was important, but Daniels’ job was a bit more stressful. He was tasked with making the catch that would honor Royal, and after he sold the run block, Daniels sprinted to the corner on the Texas sideline, pulling away from the pursuit to haul in the 47-yard catch.

“I am honored that they called my number,” Daniels said. “It was great to catch a pass and get open. I’m just honored they trusted me to do that.”

Trust is something that has been building in the coaching staff for Daniels and Matthews both. Each has been a practice warrior despite limited playing time, and every time they’ve laid out a solid block, the more and more that the coaching staff believes they can perform under pressure.

“Having Greg and Barrett on the first play - that was a no brainer,” co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin said. “Those guys have practiced well. They play hard, and they have done a lot of things to deserve to be in there.”

Daniels had his huge moment on the first offense snap – the play was shown all over national television that day – but Matthews’ came on a bit smaller scale a quarter later.

The Longhorns drove the ball to the Cyclones’ three-yard line, and that’s when Harsin decided to go deep into the playbook. Ash received the snap and rolled left, tossing the ball up to a wide open Matthews, who had snuck into the back corner of the end zone after shedding his block, for a touchdown.

Ash said Matthews was the only option on that play, and the senior did everything right to earn his first touchdown reception since his sophomore year. It was a play call designed to reward Matthews for all his hard work and for not getting frustrated despite his lack of playing time.

“That was something that we put together because you want to throw a guy a bone that has been out there grinding, banging his head out there for a lot of games and just being physical but not complaining about it,” Harsin said.

It may have been just a bone, but it could be the most rewarding gimme Matthews has ever received, Matthews said after the game.

Both tight ends made huge plays against the Cyclones, but their careers are headed in quite different directions. Matthews is finishing up his time at Texas, and he’ll be working to enjoy his last few games while ensuring the Longhorns finish as strongly as possible. Daniels, on the other hand, is steadily improving as an all-around tight end in his first season the position after playing defensive end in high school.

The tight ends aren’t a go-to group yet, but the pair, along with D.J. Grant and M.J. McFarland are working hard to change that.

“We are still building and still want more things to come to us,” Matthews said. “We want to be able to lead the offense, but they still have to trust us and we are still building trust.”


While junior wide receiver Mike Davis leads the offense with 34 catches and four touchdowns this season, his recent dropped passes have been cause for concern.  Davis dropped two passes against Baylor, but also managed a 67-yard catch in the same game.  

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

Mike Davis has become David Ash’s go-to guy. He leads the team with 34 catches for 559 yards and four touchdowns but has struggled with dropped passes.

He’s averaging 16.4 yards per catch, but many of his missed catches have not required much skill and a few of them have been on potentially game-changing plays.

During Texas’ 56-50 win over Baylor, Davis had two drops, including one on a 3rd-and-14.

“Sometimes you have to talk to Mike,” Ash said. “When Mike makes mistakes, it’s not like he doesn’t care. It bothers him. He’s a competitor, and he works hard for what he does, and whenever he messes up it bothers him.”

After a drop against Oklahoma State, Davis caught a 32-yard pass to get the Longhorns on the OSU 5-yard line with less than a minute left.

Despite the drops against Baylor, he also had a career-high 148 yards and a career-long 67-yard catch, a testament to the short memory he seems to have.

“I just felt like whenever I don’t do my job I let my team down, and I want another opportunity to make  it right,” Davis said.

During practice the coaches have players repeat plays where mistakes were made. Head coach Mack Brown said Davis does not drop passes during practice and his drops surprised the coaches.

Davis needs to get back to basics and focus on catching the ball before attempting to make a bigger play.

“Sometimes you just have to catch it and go down,” co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin said. “It’s just repping it and making that point again and saying it’s okay in that situation to do that, because he’s been drilled so hard [on] the other way of catching and running with it.”

During his sophomore campaign, he struggled with dropped passes and only scored one touchdown. But as a freshman, his future looked bright. Davis’ up-and-down career at Texas mirrors his inconsistency when it comes to catching the ball.

Although his reliability has been questioned, in the past three games Davis was far more productive than both Jaxon Shipley and Marquise Goodwin.

Shipley has eight receptions for 84 yards, and Goodwin has caught four passes for 68 yards, while Davis has 15 receptions for 296 yards with two touchdowns during that stretch.

Davis, now a junior, is clicking with Ash.

“We’re on the same page most of the time,” Davis said. “We click great. It’s also that way with Ship [Shipley] and Quise [Goodwin]. We’re all on the same page with this group.”           

Texas Tech is 12th in total defense and 15th in passing defense in the country. Davis will need to be a dependable threat downfield for the Longhorns as they take on the Red Raiders.          

“He’s always saying, ‘Give me another chance. I’ll catch it the next time. Don’t give up on me.’ And I never will, because he’s worked hard and he deserves to get the ball,” Ash said.

Printed on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 as: Drops don't get to Davis 



Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz
Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz now understand what it’s like to be both criticized and admired by Texas fans.

Both sit at 13-7 as Texas coaches. But people’s sentiments towards them are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Mack Brown can certainly sympathize.
“Last year people wanted Manny to have my job,” Brown said. “This year they’re mad at Manny. Last year they thought I hired the wrong guy in Bryan. Now they’re wanting autographs and pictures.”

Even though the pair’s situations have changed, neither are changing their demeanor or the way they coach.

As the Longhorns were walking off the field after their last-minute win over Oklahoma State, Harsin hugged or high-fived each player that passed by him heading to the locker room. Maybe it’s because he sits in the booth, but it was a surprising sight.

“If I could say one thing about coach Harsin, it’s that he’s passionate,” offensive lineman Luke Poehlmann said. “It’s kind of inspiring to see that as a player because it feels like it bleeds into our offense. All the players can see how much he cares about it and how hard he works to get us prepared. He’s a great coach.”

Poehlmann said he loves playing for Harsin because of his creativity. Though he hasn’t changed, he’s grown with the team and gotten to know the players better.

“Coach Harsin is really consistent,” offensive lineman Mason Walters said. “Win, lose or draw, he always brings that same mentality the next day of ‘Hey, we’ve got to get better’ ... It’s always about growing and it’s never about staying the same with Coach Harsin.”

Perhaps Harsin’s most important steps this year have come with David Ash. The quarterback has made significant strides and has controlled the offense very well. The Longhorns are fourth in scoring offense in the Big 12 and have stood their ground in shootouts against Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Baylor.

Last year, Diaz’s defense was sixth nationally in rushing defense and eleventh in total defense. Now the Longhorns are at the bottom, eighth in total defense in the Big 12 and 107th in the country. Diaz refuses to change what he’s doing.

“All it’s about is your persistence as a teacher,” Diaz said. “How can a scheme all of a sudden not be able to stop a run? Or how can a scheme not be able to stop a pass or do whatever? What it comes down to is your teaching.”

Said senior safety Kenny Vaccaro, “It worked last year, why shouldn’t it work now? I think we have talented players across the board. It’s not coach Diaz’s fault.”

Harsin and Diaz are taking on some of the highest expectations in the country. One is meeting them, one is falling way short. At Texas, it comes with the territory.

Printed on Friday, October 26, 2012 as: Diaz, Harsin stick to guns