- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
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This week, we’re taking a closer look at the members of the new Texas coaching staff under Charlie Strong. The fifth and final part of our two-a-days series focuses on two critical coaches who should not go underappreciated, as well as how they complete the staff.
There is real value in continuity amid a flurry of change. That idea can get easily lost as fans fantasize about their program assembling the best all-star staff money can buy.
For Strong, bringing back the veteran Chambers for his 17th season with the program was his way of bridging the gap between coaching staffs and maintaining some consistency.
That move proved especially important in January, when Chambers escorted Strong on his first recruiting tour of the critical Dallas-Fort Worth area high schools.
“I love going with Bruce Chambers,” Strong said, “because I meet so many people, I can’t remember them all. He has me all over that city.”
Chambers joined Mack Brown’s first staff in 1998 and has been a Longhorn ever since, spending the past 12 years as the tight ends coach. The transition to the Strong regime hasn’t been stressful, he said, because he already knew several of the new assistants from his time in the business.
“It’s been smooth, it really has been,” Chambers said. “It hasn’t been hard at all. You just go back to work.”
During Chambers’ time on the road recruiting with Strong, the two quickly figured out they’d met before on the trail.
“One of the things I learned about him, and was reminded by him, is that when I was a high school coach he actually recruited three of my players,” Chambers said. “He actually came into the high school and I met him then. But we hit it off really well, had a good time in Dallas.”
As much as Chambers can help the next staff get familiar with last year’s game tape and this year’s roster, he’s doing some learning this spring, too. He’s offering his input on the creation of Texas’ new offensive scheme and likes where the playbook is heading.
“It reminds me a lot of when I first got to Texas with Greg Davis,” Chambers said. “It reminds me a lot of that feel. I think it’s an offense that’s big-play yet it can grind it out. I think it’s a very, very balanced offense and a fun offense. I think the guys will enjoy playing in it and the fans will enjoy watching it.”
The start of Brown’s regime was exciting times for Chambers. These past few months have brought back similar feelings. He’s doing the same job he’s had for a long time, but the task of starting over is off to a good start.
Head strength and conditioning coach
The new leader of Texas’ strength program comes from Louisville and was one of the first coaches Strong brought with him to the 40 Acres. He’s revered for the transformative effect he had on the Cardinals’ program, overseeing gains in strength, speed and a major overhaul in accountability.
“We have the best strength coach in the country in Pat Moorer,” defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said. “You’re going to see these guys, the bodies are going to change, they’re going to look totally different. Their attitude is going to be totally different.”
Moorer has run Texas’ offseason program this winter and probably knows the Longhorn players far better than Strong and his assistants at this point. He’ll be an omnipresent part of the program, and if you want to play you better exceed his standards.
He’s also the bad cop of this operation, the no-nonsense disciplinarian. The last person a Texas player in trouble wants to see is Moorer.
“If you’ve made it to Coach Moorer,” linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary said, “that probably means you’ve had a bad experience. And it’s probably going to be worse. After Pat’s done with you, you’re going to feel like that wasn’t the best of decisions.”
The former Florida linebacker earned SEC Freshman of the Year in 1986 and used to serve as Emmitt Smith’s personal trainer. Moorer spent 11 years at South Carolina before joining Strong’s staff at Louisville and achieved his master strength and conditioning coach certification, the highest honor of his profession, in 2006.
Jean-Mary knows from their time together at Louisville that Moorer is an invaluable extension of the staff, and the coach who spends more time with players than anyone else.
And what makes Moorer so effective, he says, is the fact he cares about a lot more than just how much the players are benching and squatting. This is truly a holistic process.
“I think Pat and Charlie are cut from the same cloth,” Jean-Mary said. “They want to work on the total person, not just the bigger, faster, strong and looking the part on the field. He works so much more on the leadership aspect, the communication aspect with other students and faculty members outside of the football program. The community work.
“He really wants them to be the total person. He really tries to bring out the maturity level.”
Getting the full buy-in from Longhorn players is critical this offseason, and those who can’t keep up with Moorer’s style might not last long. The ones who go all-in should look a lot different by August.