One day after two of his colleagues were demoted, defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said Texas’ coaching staff is “hurting.”
“Your staff is family. When your family’s hurting, you’re hurting,” Bedford said Wednesday. “We all need to come together as a staff, as a family, support each other and do whatever is necessary to go out and help this team win games.”
Head coach Charlie Strong opened the week vowing to evaluate his staff after the 38-3 loss at Notre Dame. On Tuesday, he took over a press conference scheduled for Shawn Watson and announced he had stripped Watson and Joe Wickline of play-calling duties and gave them to wide receivers coach Jay Norvell.
Norvell, who was hired in January, will call shots on offense for the first time since 2007, when he was at UCLA. Texas hosts Rice this Saturday.
Bedford was asked why he believes Norvell can fix the offense.
“Because of the people that he’s working with,” Bedford said. “He has the demeanor of a defensive coach. I would love to have him on defense. His approach, his attitude. The guy’s he’s working with, Tommie Robinson, is one of the better running backs coaches you’re gonna find out there. Shawn Watson is a class individual, a professional who does a great job with the quarterbacks. Joe Wickline, everyone knows. I think this staff here is really good. When you have a good supporting cast, it really helps out.”
Since Strong’s arrival, the offensive staff has been stirred up, beginning with the offseason firings of Les Koenning (receivers) and Bruce Chambers (tight ends). The defense changed one assistant when Brick Haley (defensive line) took over after Chris Rumph left for Florida.
Same 11: Somewhat lost in Saturday’s season-opening debacle was a crummy performance by the Texas defense, which gave up touchdowns on two of Notre Dame’s first three drives and surrendered 527 total yards. No turnovers were forced.
Bedford said the only passing grades he’d give players are “Cs and Ds.” Yet, he said he’ll keep with the same starting 11.
Bedford said he’ll give increased playing time to some freshmen. Cornerback Kris Boyd is among them.
“Kris Boyd thinks he can walk on water,” Bedford said. “My man is off the charts. Once he figures out how to play, he’s gonna be an extremely good football player.”
Bedford said five freshmen voluntarily joined the staff for film study this week.
Santos done for year: Linebacker Dalton Santos told the American-Statesman that he is out for the season after undergoing ankle surgery. Santos, who has 112 career tackles, said he plans to redshirt and return in 2016.
He did not play against Notre Dame.
Making a plea: Asked to make a pitch for a strong turnout Saturday, Bedford initially hesitated before stumping.
“Every time I make a pitch, I get an email from the North End Zone, but I’m gonna make my pitch anyway,” he said. “If you’re a fan of the University of Texas, you’re gonna have your asses in those seats. Those players work extremely hard. They want your support, they need your support.”
As of late Tuesday, there were 15,000 unsold tickets for Saturday’s home opener. Bedford made a similar plea prior to last year’s opener against North Texas.