An advantage the 2020 linebacker corps may have over the 2019 squad is the man leading it. This site opined often last year that Todd Orlando the linebackers coach hurt the efforts of Todd Orlando the defensive coordinator. Orlando has been replaced by Coleman Hutzler, who spent the previous four seasons with Will Muschamp at South Carolina.
In a teleconference with reporters that covered a wide range of subjects, Texas head coach Tom Herman provided updates on several players rehabbing from injuries or conditions that dated back to the 2019 season.
Last year around this time one of the big questions for the spring game was how Texas' LBs would show against the run. The 2016 season had been one of the ugliest for LB play in a decade of exceptionally ugly play at that position but with Malik Jefferson and Anthony Wheeler coming under Todd Orlando's supervision there was some hope that it might get turned around. Then the offense spent the spring game throwing the ball around on the perimeter and it remained to be seen whether Texas knew how to fit the run or not.
Since the Texas Tech loss, the UT staff has been busy hitting the recruiting trail and preparing the team for the Texas Bowl. Herman has been busy evaluating the program and also re-interviewing his entire staff. It's not unusual for a head coach to do performance reviews, but that's normally after the season, not in mid-December. The timing is peculiar given all Texas has on its plate, including trying to gather as many signatures as it can before NSD1.
The 2015 recruiting class was one of the most athletic collections of defensive players that the Longhorns had signed in this decade. Malik Jefferson headlined the group and was joined, by order of 247 ranking, Anthony Wheeler, Holton Hill, Kris Boyd, DeShon Elliott, Davante Davis, P.J. Locke, and Breckyn Hager to round out their defensive backfield class. Now in year three we are finally seeing how the pieces fit together.