Sources: Texas coach Tom Herman fires defensive coordinator Todd Orlando as shake-up begins

Posted December 1st, 2019

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Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando has been fired in what is the start of an expected staff shakeup with the Longhorns, multiple sources confirmed to the American-Statesman.

Yahoo Sports was the first to report the news Sunday afternoon. A UT spokesman could not confirm the news, and head coach Tom Herman could not be reached immediately for comment.

Orlando, who has been with Herman since 2015, came to Texas with the head coach in 2017. He was the first assistant in UT history given an annual salary worth more than $1 million. Then after last season, Orlando was given an extension through the 2020 season and a pay raise to $1.7 million.

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Texas Longhorns Todd Orlando during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Austin, Texas.RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Heading into this season, the Longhorns were expected to have one of the fastest secondary units fielded this decade. The secondary was thought to have so much speed, the defensive coaches created an eight-man “Cowboy” package to get more speed on the field.

But injuries started piling up in the secondary, and the unit could not generate a consistent pass rush with its three-man defensive front.

Texas finished the regular season allowing 446.3 yards per game, which is the third-highest total in school history. The Horns finished tied for seventh in the league with just 22 sacks.

Orlando met with reporters only on Wednesdays during the season. He was not allowed to talk after games, per Herman’s instructions.

Last week, Orlando said all Texas had to do was “continue to get better and execute and continue the course. That’s it.”

“Here’s what I’ll tell you,” Orlando said. “When you get to a place like this, every second of every day is work your tail off. You get to be my age off of that, there’s an understanding. It doesn’t matter. You come in here and do the best job.

“To me, it’s about staying in routine,” he added. “You sit back and you look at your work and your routine, and if your routing is elite, then you’ve just to continue to work away.”

Chris Ash was Ohio State’s co-defensive coordinator during the 2014-15 seasons before getting the head coaching job at Rutgers. Ash was fired at Rutgers earlier this season but spent some time with the UT coaching staff the week of the Oklahoma game.

Whether Ash becomes Herman’s top replacement candidate is unclear.

Orlando’s dismissal may not be the only assistant Herman parts with. Before the regular-season finale against Texas Tech, Herman said the coaching staff has not gotten the most out of the talent base in the locker room.

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email: bdavis@statesman.com.

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