University of Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando answer questions from the local media about his strategy for the Texas Longhorns at the Moncrief Athletics Complex, UT campus at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

BEVO BEAT Football

Defensive coordinator Todd Orlando seeking out depth this August

Defensive boss wants to establish list of 18-20 players he can count on when season begins

Posted July 24th, 2017

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HOUSTON — Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando and some friends ate dinner Sunday night at El Tiempo, a Houston restaurant that generated good food and good vibes for his old employer.

“To sit there and think that we didn’t lose a game here, in this city. That’s pretty special,” the former Houston defensive coordinator said. All four of Texas coach Tom Herman’s losses in two years at Houston were away from home.

“We need to get one in Austin, right?” Orlando said.

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Austin’s Tex-Mex depth chart is pretty expansive, but Orlando wants to build up a long list of Longhorns. Orlando said he’ll be seeking out 18-20 players this August that he can count on when the season begins.

Some players, like defensive linemen Poona Ford or Malcolm Roach, have nothing to worry about. Same goes for defensive backs like P.J. Locke III or Kris Boyd. But others may be asking themselves if they meet that criteria.

“We do have some depth,” Orlando said. “It needs to be developed. There’s obviously a difference between a winning season and winning a championship. That’s what we’re trying to get.”

Defensive line is thin after Jordan Elliott and Marcel Southall both left the program. Orlando praised D’Andre Christmas and Chris Nelson for transforming their bodies. The assistant coach had nothing but rave reviews for strength coach Yancy McKnight and his offseason work.

“They’re becoming leaner, which is making them more explosive, which gives them an opportunity to make more plays,” Orlando said.

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

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