The University of Houston (UH) Cougars’ football program is now in search of a new defensive coordinator, after Todd Orlando accepted the defensive coordinator position at the University of Texas (UT) Longhorns, following Tom Herman, who left a few weeks ago to accept the head coaching job at UT, and decided he wanted to bring Orlando along for the ride.
Major Applewhite, who was named the 14th head coach of the Cougars, confirmed that Orlando was leaving for UT, and they will now be tasked with finding a defensive coordinator who will compliment his offensive acumen. Applewhite, of course, previously served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Cougars, before being hired as head coach.
“I’m happy for anyone in a career opportunity,” said Applewhite. “I knew this was something that was going to happen. I appreciate them sticking around for the bowl game and I wish them the very best.”
The news came out directly before the kickoff of the Las Vegas Bowl this past Saturday, where UH was playing San Diego State University. Orlando had already told the team earlier in week.
“The kids knew, I didn’t want to be a distraction,” said Orlando on letting the players know before the game.
Orlando has over 21 years of coaching experience, and came to UH under the Herman regime. In Orlando’s last season at UH, the defense ranked 2nd in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) in scoring defense, and were also 2nd in total defense in the conference. The rushing attack of the Cougars was relentless, but the defense gave up less than 100 yards rushing per game.
UT has desperately needed someone with the expertise that a coach like Orlando possesses, which is precisely why Herman brought him aboard. The Longhorns ranked near the middle of the pack in almost every defensive category in the Big 12 Conference, and were last in the conference in scoring defense this past season. This is one of the things Orlando is best at, and he will bring all of it to the table for the Longhorns, as he moves on from UH.
“It’s going to be very challenging, it’s a tough league to play great defense,” said Orlando.
The top three offensives in the NCAA FBS level came from the Big 12 Conference – Baylor, Texas Tech and TCU.
Orlando did end his tenure with UH on a sour note, with his defense giving up 34 unanswered points, and suffering a tough loss to the San Diego State Aztecs in the Las Vegas Bowl, 34-10.
Stay tuned to the Forward Times for continued coverage on their search for a new UH defensive coordinator.