Culpepper's Commentary: The New Coaches

Texas will not lose the momentum created by its great Rose Bowl win. The coaching hires and player decisions of the last week or so have ensured that.

Let's put it this way -- the highlight of the Big 12 football season was the Longhorns come-from-behind, last-second win in the 2005 Rose Bowl. And with Rodrique Wright, Larry Dibbles and Michael Huff putting off the NFL for one more year, along with improvement by returning underclassmen, the Longhorns should be a joy to coach for new defensive coordinator Gene Chizik.

Let's see, Greg Robinson came to Texas after being fired at Kansas City and Chizik comes to Austin after his relentless defense led Auburn to a 13-0 record. That ought to tell you something.

Chizik knows all about the Longhorns from his assistant days at Stephen F. Austin. Once you have been under the shadow of Texas in recruiting or coaching you know what an impact the Longhorns have in the state and beyond in the world of football.

His defense at Auburn chased the ball and attacked plays much like Robinson's at Texas. The emphasis on zone coverage will be continued.

Oscar Giles was part of David McWilliams' "Whatever It Takes" 1990 SWC Championship team. His state of Texas recruiting ability, conditioning focus and experience gained as a grad assistant at Texas and as a coach at SMU and Houston will soften the blow of losing Dick Tomey.

Michael Haywood made a dangerous move from Texas to offensive coordinator at Notre Dame -- the Irish are a sinking ship until they decide every student at South Bend doesn't have to have high school calculus to enter their sacred institution -- and to replace Haywood, Coach Mack Brown made a brilliant hire in Ken Rucker.

I became Coach Rucker's friend while I was head football coach at Lufkin High School and Ken was an assistant at Arkansas. He recruited two of my players, Vernon Wade and Willie Johnson.

Both boys became starters for the Razorbacks during their college careers, graduated and loved the association with the Rucker family.

Years later I watched Coach Rucker tutor the Aggie running backs for R.C. Slocum. His communication skills are outstanding and exactly what the Longhorns need to quickly find a replacement for Cedric Benson.

Ken Rucker can separate "BS" from the truth. And as a recruiter he has few peers.

Pat Culpepper played for The University from 1960-62 and graduated from UT with a B.A. degree with honors in history. He coached college football for 12 years as an assistant at Texas, Colorado, Tulane, Baylor and Memphis State and was head coach at Northern Illinois from 1976-79. He also spent 16 years as a high school coach in Texas at Midland, Lufkin, Galveston Ball, Westfield and his hometown of Cleburne. He was selected to the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1991. His commentary appears regularly in the Inside Texas magazine and at

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