NCF Nation: Darrell Wyatt

AUSTIN, Texas -- D.J. Monroe has shown flashes, but to this point, they've been little more.

The most memorable? An 80-yard scamper in Red River in 2010 to jolt the Longhorns awake from an early 14-0 deficit.

Monroe's role in the offense has been minimal, but his gamebreaking potential is enormous. That's clear to everyone, including Texas' coaching staff.

Monroe, despite his speed, would likely be little more than Texas' fourth-string running back next fall after Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown established themselves as top runners in 2011 and the nation's No. 1 high school running back -- Johnathan Gray -- en route to Austin this summer.

Texas' response? Helping Monroe get on the field by working him at receiver, where the Longhorns are much thinner.

"The best play D.J. has for us is the speed sweep, and he is a wide receiver when he does that," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "He will work more with (receivers coach) Darrell Wyatt the latter part of practice so we can try to get him in the game without giving it away that he's in there only for a play that he runs."

That could mean a bigger role for the bubble screen in Monroe's arsenal, too.

For Texas, though, it's a great move and a necessary one.

Monroe's a running back at heart. Brown made that clear.

"He can do things in space. So we've been trying to force tailback on him when our tailbacks are now 205 to 240, and that's not his game," Brown said. "He's 165 pounds, 170 pounds, and he needs to be a space player. And I think we've got something that can help him if he can grow in that area."

Giving Monroe the ball on bubbles like Oklahoma did with Ryan Broyles could birth big results next season. Monroe's a gamebreaker waiting to happen, but with his limited package, his touches have been minimal.

If Monroe can prove the slant route or a quick out are legitimate options defenses must respect, the whole team should be better off. It sounds small, but keep an eye out for big results.

And though Texas wants balance, don't expect the Longhorns to lose sight of what this move is really about.

"He needs to be outside," Brown said. "That's who he is."
Spring football is in full swing. Three teams from the Big 12 (Texas Tech, Baylor, Texas) are already done, and the last team in the Big 12 to start (Kansas State) kicked off on Wednesday.

That leaves seven teams in the Big 12 on the field, but who's coaching them? We've had plenty of teams shift coordinators this season, so here's a quick refresher if you've been busy following basketball since the season ended and the coaching carousel began spinning.


Defensive coordinator: Phil Bennett. He replaces Brian Norwood, who moved to associate head coach and secondary coach. Bennett was previously the defensive coordinator at Pittsburgh, where he coordinated the nation's No. 8 defense.


Offensive coordinator: David Beaty. He spent a year at Rice, but returned to Kansas to coach receivers and serve as co-offensive coordinator alongside Chuck Long. He replaces Darrell Wyatt, who left to coach receivers at Texas. Long retained play-calling duties.


Offensive coordinator: Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell. They'll share offensive coordinator duties, with Heupel calling the plays. He did so during the Sooners' 48-20 win over Connecticut in the Fiesta Bowl. They'll replace Kevin Wilson, who left to become the head coach at Indiana. Heupel will continue to coach quarterbacks as he has since 2006. Norvell will continue to coach receivers as he has since 2008.


Offensive coordinator: Todd Monken. He'll replace Dana Holgorsen, who took over as offensive coordinator at West Virginia and is scheduled to replace Bill Stewart as the head coach in 2012. Monken previously coached receivers for the Jacksonville Jaguars.


Offensive coordinator: Bryan Harsin. He spent a decade at Boise State and five years as offensive coordinator, and will replace Greg Davis, the longtime coordinator under Mack Brown who resigned after the 2010 season.

Defensive coordinator: Manny Diaz. Another young coach, Diaz was at Middle Tennessee State in 2009 and coordinated the defense at Mississippi State under Dan Mullen last season. He replaces Will Muschamp, who left to become head coach at Florida.


Defensive coordinator: Chad Glasgow. Previously the secondary coach at TCU, Glasgow helped the Horned Frogs win the Rose Bowl last year and parlayed his recent excellence into a coordinator gig in Lubbock, where he'll replace James Willis, who left the program in December, before the Red Raiders beat Northwestern in the inaugural TicketCity Bowl.
Manny Diaz, the defensive coordinator at Mississippi State, has been hired for the same job at Texas, confirming multiple reports throughout the day on Wednesday.

"I was very flattered when I heard from Coach [Mack] Brown about this tremendous opportunity," Diaz said in a news release. "It was not something I sought out, but Coach Brown called, was very complimentary of our season and asked if I was interested in talking. I was very interested immediately. I'm really looking forward to being a part of a great team and staff. That all starts with Coach Brown and everything he's done to make Texas great. Just having the chance to be a cog in that wheel is really exciting to me."

Diaz is Texas' third hire after five positions came open at the end of the season. Bo Davis, previously at Alabama, has been hired to coach defensive tackles. Darrell Wyatt, previously at Kansas, has been hired to coach receivers.

The hire also means that Texas' defensive staff is set for the 2011 season.

"After an extensive search, including conversations with head coaches and offensive coordinators around the country, Manny's name continued to come up," Brown said. "He's a bright, young coach who brings a lot of energy to our program. Manny's been a tremendous staff person everywhere he has been, and he will fit in perfectly with our guys here. When you add him and Bo (Davis) to Duane (Akina) and Oscar (Giles), that's a defensive staff I'm really excited about moving forward with."
New Texas receivers coach Darrell Wyatt took the job earlier this week, making his fifth stop in the Big 12. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the Longhorns, who still must replace four coaches, he didn't see it as a reason to stay away from Austin.

"When you get an opportunity to come to a place like The University of Texas and work with a guy like Mack Brown and [the] great staff he is putting together and all the resources we have here, it's really tough to say no," Wyatt told reporters this week. "I was on board, my wife was obviously on board, and we're excited to be at The University of Texas."

Wyatt replaces Bobby Kennedy, who left Texas to coach receivers at Colorado.

As a coach at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Kansas previously, among others, Wyatt has spent plenty of time recruiting in Texas. As such, he'll also be the Longhorns' co-recruiting coordinator.

"I've had experiences in just about every part of the state. I've recruited the Dallas Metroplex area. At one point I recruited Houston as well as East Texas. Obviously, my wife is from San Antonio and me being from Killeen - central Texas, so I've recruited just about every part of the state," Wyatt said. "Recruiting is a people business, and you have to develop relationships with the coaches first then the kids. Making sure there is a trust there and obviously selling them a place like Texas certainly makes it easier. It's still a battle. There are a lot of good things and good places to sell, but again, I like my chances here with all the resources and the great tradition."

The Longhorns receivers struggled in 2010, and Wyatt will be charged with eliminating those issues. Marquise Goodwin and Malcolm Williams' development has been stunted, but the good news for the Longhorns is their leading receiver in 2010 was a freshman, Mike Davis, who finished with 47 catches for 478 yards and two of just 10 touchdown catches on the season for Texas. Fellow freshman Darius White was also a five-star recruit in the 2010 class who had difficulty finding early success.

"I don't want to judge the guys or make any evaluation before I see them," he said. "I'm familiar with some of their names, and I know they're talented. I'm looking forward to the challenge of the spring and bringing those guys along."

He'll get started for real when Texas kicks off spring practice in a few weeks, but the draw of Austin and the Longhorns was too much for Wyatt to resist at Kansas as an assistant under Turner Gill.

"Obviously, it's a special job for me because of its location -- because being in Texas and because of the great history and tradition. You walk down the hallways here and the tradition oozes out at you," he said. "It's a special place, and I'm just glad to be here."