Posted by Jerry Hinnen
After several hours of reports corroborating each other, it's all but official : Bryan Harsin of Boise State and current Texas running backs coach Major Applewhite will be co-offensive coordinators next season at Texas.
Though there's nothing out of the official Longhorn camp just yet, Harsin appears to have spent at least 24 hours in Austin visiting and deliberating his offer to replace Greg Davis as -- we believe -- the Longhorns' primary play-caller. Apparently, he's accepted, giving Mack Brown and Co. one of the nation's hottest young offensive minds; at 34 years old and the Broncos' offensive coordinator since 2006, Harsin has already guided Boise to five finishes in the national top 20 for total offense.
As for Applewhite, while it's not entirely clear what his role will be, his promotion ensures that one of the few Longhorn offensive staff members who escaped the team's 2010 implosion with their reputations intact -- witness the rumors Will Muschamp would be taking Applewhite with him to direct the offense at Florida -- will remain in Austin and provide a sense of continuity as Harsin takes over.
As for what the Longhorn offense will look like under the Harsin-Applewhite tag team, if there's anything certain, it's that it'll feature a greater emphasis on the running game after Brown said his offseason focus (for what feels like the 10th straight year) would be on finding someone to instill more toughness (and, you know, success) in the Longhorn ground attack. But as for specifics, if it winds up looking like Harsin's Boise offense, the best place to start is this post at the ever-brilliant Smart Football , which breaks down the Bronco philosophy as one that doesn't stick to a singular scheme, formation, or approach; it simply finds plays that work, whether out of a pro set or spread, and executes them. Or as a Bronco assistant put it: "We run plays, we don’t have an offense."
Ironically, many a Longhorn fan disappointed with Davis's grab-bag of an offense have leveled that same boast as a criticism of the previous offensive regime. But if Harsin can produce an offense in Austin remotely as productive as the one he oversaw in Boise -- if he can turn that lack of identity into the strength of unpredictability rather than the weakness of confusion -- no one in burnt orange will be complaining.