The 'Will' to Win

Texas officially introduced Will Muschamp as the team's defensive coordinator on Friday. Muschamp took the opportunity to voice his intention to bring fire, attitude and accountability to the Texas defense.

Texas head coach Mack Brown signaled a change in attitude for his program when, after a second consecutive loss to Texas A&M, he announced that all jobs on the team would be 'open.' He then showed his stance had some substance by inserting a bevy of new starters into the 52-34 Holiday Bowl win over Arizona State.

It was a different team, in more ways than one, that took the field for Texas in San Diego. During the month leading up to the game, players spoke of the change in attitude in practice, how players fought for their jobs every day and how it changed their attitude.

Will Muschamp wants to make sure things stay that way.

Texas hired the fiery coordinator away from Auburn and one of the strongest reasons was his 'all jobs are open' philosophy.

"It's a clean slate," said Muschamp. "If they (players) understand they've got do it every day in practice, then it's really not that hard to get up for 12 Saturdays in the fall."

Brown echoed Muschamp's stance at the introductory press conference.

"All jobs are open, every day," said Brown. "We want to continue to make practice more competitive, like we did for the bowl game and looking at pitting an offensive lineman against a defensive lineman and keeping score."

Muschamp's attitude seems to have corresponded with results on the field. In his six years as a college coordinator, at LSU and then Auburn, his defenses have ranked among the nation's top 10 in total defense four times and scoring defense three times. Muschamp said his attitude is more than just for show.

"I think the players take the personality of the coach," said Muschamp. "I want them to play hard, I want them to play with toughness, I want them to play relentless and I want them to strike for four quarters and that's what we're going to do."

That's the 'what', but what about the 'how'? There's still a lot of question as to whether Muschamp will maintain Texas' traditional 4-3 scheme or switch to a 3-4 or perhaps something else. His answer: Yes.

"In college football, one week you face a spread offense that can run the ball, the next week you face a two-back power running game, the next week you face a spread offense that's going to throw the ball. Each week you're changing schematically with what you do and you have to be multiple," said Muschamp. "I hear coaches talk about how 'I'm a man guy or I'm a zone guy or whatever guy I am.' Well, you better be multiple in what you do because you're going to play quarterbacks who are very effective in what they do."

Thanks to Texas' Big 12 schedule, the Longhorns will run into the full gambit of offenses next season, but while strategy will change from week-to-week, the overall philosophy of aggression will not.

"We're going to be multiple, we're going to be fast, we're going to be physical, the kids are going to play hard or they're not going to play," forcefully reiterated Muschamp.

Muschamp did caution, however, the he's not going to be aggressive to the point of fault in his quest to put pressure on the quarterback, something Texas struggled with for most of last season.

"Too much chocolate cake makes you sick," said Muschamp. "You pressure too much and you get blitz-happy, they'll turn the scoreboard around on you in hurry."

The 36-year-old Muschamp is not without Texas connections and is familiar with several members of the staff, including both Greg Davis and Mac McWhorter, whom he played for as a safety at Georgia.

"Mac McWhorter recruited me out of high school. That should tell you how old he is," joked Muschamp.

Many have speculated that Muschamp's main reason for coming to Texas was to become a head coach. Former Texas defensive coordinator Gene Chizik, who also came to Austin from Auburn, said. when he was hired, that the potential of taking over a another program was a big draw for him. For Brown, he'd take Muschamp leaving, just as Chizik did, as a compliment.

"If Will gets offered a head job next year that he wants, there's no better compliment to a program than a guy getting offered a head coaching job," said Brown. "We need more young coaches like Will. He's honest, he's tough, he's aggressive and the kids like him."

Muschamp, though, said he isn't coming to Texas with a head coaching job in mind.

"I took this job be the defensive coordinator at Texas," said Muschamp. "Too many guys in my profession worry about the next job and they don't always do a great job in one they got."

During his decision-making process on whether or not to take the Texas job, Muschamp spoke with Chizik about the Longhorn program.

"(Chizik had) nothing but positive things to say about Coach Brown and the Texas community, the fan base, the fan support and the school," said Muschamp. "Austin's a great town to live in and we're looking forward to moving."

Longhorn spring drills begin on Friday, February 22 and conclude with the Spring Jamboree and Scrimmage on Saturday, March 29.

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