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What happens when Texas football returns its HC, OC, DC, S&C coach, and starting quarterback

Joe Cookby:Joe Cook06/10/24


Research done by Football Scoop says that Texas is one of 32 FBS schools that will return the same head coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, strength and conditioning coach, and starting quarterback from 2023 in 2024.

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It’s the second straight season the Longhorns have all five of head coach (and play-caller) Steve Sarkisian, offensive coordinator Kyle Flood, defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski, strength and conditioning coach Torre Becton, and starting quarterback Quinn Ewers back for another go-round in burnt orange.

That confluence of events ahead of 2023 boosted the Longhorns to a Big 12 Championship, a 12-2 record, and an appearance in the College Football Playoff where Texas fell just short to national runner-up Washington.

The challenge will increase in 2024, especially as Texas joins a league in the SEC that has Florida, Georgia, and Ole Miss who return those five critical parts of a football program.

What’s happened during other occasions where the Longhorns have had those five key figures back? Inside Texas goes back to the beginning of the Mack Brown era ahead of the 1998 season for the answer.


Texas returned head coach Mack Brown, offensive coordinator Greg Davis, defensive coordinator Carl Reese, strength and conditioning coach Jeff “Maddog” Madden, and starting quarterback Major Applewhite. What complicated matters for the Horns was the arrival of Chris Simms. Applewhite appeared in all 14 games and Simms played in seven, but the QB controversy overshadowed the regular season. Texas won the Big 12 South, lost to Nebraska in the title game, and then was defeated by Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl to finish 9-5.


The Longhorns returned Brown, Davis, Reese, Madden, Applewhite, and Simms once again. Texas was 9-3 and 7-1 in Big 12 play, missing the Big 12 title game due to a 63-14 loss to eventual conference and national champion Oklahoma. Applewhite was credited with starting six games while Simms was listed as starting the other five. The Longhorns lost the Holiday Bowl to Joey Harrington and the top-10 Oregon Ducks.


Brown, Davis, Reese, Madden, Applewhite, and Simms all came back and the Longhorns snuck into the Big 12 Championship with a chance at the Rose Bowl, the home of the national title in 2001. The Colorado Buffaloes undid those hopes in a 39-37 upset. Texas would go on to win the Holiday Bowl over Washington, 47-43, to finish 11-2.


Some liberty is taken here as Applewhite exhausted his eligibility after the 2001 season, but the rest of Simms, Brown, Davis, Reese, and Madden all returned. Texas missed the Big 12 Championship game but finished 11-2 again with a season-ending win over Nick Saban‘s LSU Tigers in the Cotton Bowl.


It would take a long time before Texas returned all five of head coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, strength coach, and quarterback. That said, Texas was plenty successful during that six-year period with three BCS bowl wins, a national championship, and a Big 12 title. The Longhorns would play for a national title in 2009 under Brown, Davis, Madden, second-year defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, and fourth-year starter Colt McCoy but fall short against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Rose Bowl.


Brown, offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, strength coach Bennie Wylie, and quarterbacks David Ash and Case McCoy all returned in 2012 after an 8-5 campaign in 2011. The Longhorns went 8-4 in the regular season but won the Alamo Bowl to finish 9-4 in Brown’s penultimate year.

2013 is not included in this list as Harsin left to become the head coach of Arkansas State after the 2012 season while Applewhite stayed as offensive coordinator in 2013. It wasn’t a major change, but it was a change in play-callers ahead of the final year of Brown’s tenure in Austin.


Charlie Strong returned Shawn Watson as offensive play-caller, Vance Bedford as defensive coordinator, Pat Moorer as strength coach, and Tyrone Swoopes as starting quarterback. Even with the addition of Jerrod Heard at quarterback and the switch to Jay Norvell as offensive coordinator early in the year, Texas finished 5-7 with embarrassing losses to Notre Dame, TCU, Iowa State, and Texas Tech.


Tom Herman brought back offensive coordinator Tim Beck, defensive coordinator Todd Orlando, strength coach Yancy McKnight, and starting quarterback Sam Ehlinger along with seasoned backup Shane Buechele. Texas went 10-4 that season, reaching the Big 12 title game and falling to Oklahoma. However, the Longhorns capped the year with a Sugar Bowl win over Georgia for their first 10-win season in almost a decade.


The Longhorns brought that same group back sans Buechele in 2019 but disappointed, failing to reach the Big 12 Championship game. Texas finished 7-5 with a 5-4 record in Big 12 play, oddly good enough for second in the league. Texas would top No. 11 Utah 38-10 in the Alamo Bowl to finish 8-5 before making a number of significant changes in the offseason.

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Year three was when it all came together for Texas under Sarkisian. With Flood, Kwiatkowski, Becton, and Ewers all back, the Longhorns charged through the Big 12, won the title during the program’s last season in the league, and made it to the last scheduled iteration of the four-team College Football Playoff.

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