Darrell Wyatt joked he’s barely had time to feel his feet on the ground this week.
But in between recruiting trips around the state last week, the Killeen native still managed to take a few moments to soak in his recent promotion.
“Basically (Texas head coach Mack Brown) shared with me what his thoughts are going forward with the staff, and obviously I was excited to hear it,” Wyatt told the Daily Herald on Monday. “I think we’ve made tremendous strides this year offensively, and I think we have a bright future.”
Wyatt, a 24-year coaching veteran and former Killeen High graduate, was named Texas’ co-offensive coordinator last Wednesday along with Major Applewhite, replacing former co-offensive coordinator/play-caller Bryan Harsin after it was announced he’d accepted the head coach position at Arkansas State.
“Major and I had a relationship even before I decided to join the staff at Texas … and I think we have a lot of natural ties with our offensive philosophy, our offensive background,” Wyatt said, “and we’re definitely going to use (those) things offensively that we’ve had success with — getting the ball to our skill guys, our speed guys — but also we have some new ideas that we (think) can help us moving forward.”
Wyatt will maintain his positional title as receivers coach/co-recruiting coordinator while Applewhite will take over all play-calling duties on game day as the incumbent co-coordinator working beside Harsin, but will shift his positional focus from running backs to quarterbacks.
“It’ll be a collective effort,” Wyatt said. “I just think that we have a good group of guys, everybody’s going to be able to have input and we just want to put the best product on the field.”
Sharing offensive duties isn’t a strange situation for Wyatt, who was hired by the Longhorns in 2011 following a year as the receivers coach/co-offensive coordinator at Kansas in his second stint with the Jayhawks. Prior to that, he was the associate head coach/offensive coordinator/receivers coach at Southern Mississippi.
“He has so much experience and has brought tons of great ideas to the table since he’s been with us,” Brown told the Daily Herald last week. “I just think he’s a brilliant coach, especially when it comes to the passing game.”
With a receiving corps that was highlighted by junior Mike Davis, a second-team All-Big 12 selection, and sophomore Jaxon Shipley, an all-conference honorable mention, the Longhorns (8-4) had the sixth-ranked passing offense in the Big 12 this season and play Oregon State (9-3) in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29 in the Alamodome in San Antonio.
“I really feel good about my working relationship with the other guys on the staff, coach Brown’s trust in the staff and what we’re doing moving forward and I like the direction (we’re headed) going into the bowl game,” Wyatt said. “With not a lot of time, we’re going to stick with what we’ve been doing, but we’ll get together as an offensive staff and see what changes we will make, if any.”
It was also announced Monday that former Belton quarterback David Ash, a sophomore, will return to his starting role for the bowl game after missing the Kansas State game Dec. 1 with a rib injury.
Wyatt, who played football at Trinity Valley Community College and Kansas State after graduating from Killeen High School in 1984, has coached 12 seasons at four Big 12 programs: Kansas (twice), Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor. He coached for the Minnesota Vikings for one season in 2006 and has had 12 total stops, most as a receivers coach.
“Obviously, coach Brown put a lot of thought into it, in terms of naming co-coordinators, he’s watched our relationship continue to grow,” Wyatt said. “Major and I have very similar philosophies when it comes to offensive football … (and) I think it’s going to be great.”