Major Applewhite: We're trying to find who loves football

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday December 27, 2012

Posted by: Chris Vannini on December 27, 2012

Bowl season is key for young players getting extra practices, but it can also help young coaches who get moved into a new position.

As the coaching carousel goes around, coaching staffs often have to move people around for the final game. At Texas, co-offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Bryan Harsin took the head coaching job at Arkansas State.

As a result, co-offensive coordinator / running backs coach Major Applewhite will take over the playcalling and also work with the quarterbacks. At the bowl presser, he talked about how he doesn't want to change too much.

"Well, going into the situation not having coached a quarterback the whole season until the final game, the last thing I want to do is make a lot of changes," Applewhite said. "I don't want to change a lot of the ways (David Ash has) been coached. I think he's done a great job this year. Has there been a game or two he wants back? Absolutely. That's usually the case for most players.

"But I think he's improved from last season. ... The last thing I want to do is scratch the hard drive and try to change a lot of things that he's really been ingrained in over the last two years. He's done a great job. We'll talk more about that kind of stuff in the spring and where we want to go with the position, how we want to grow. But for the meantime I've been trying to keep him in the same concepts in what we've been doing offensively in the throw game and in the run game."

The Longhorns have lost two straight entering Saturday's Alamo Bowl against Oregon State. Applewhite was asked about preventing a team from coming out flat and said it comes down to the individual players.

"I don't think teams are flat, I think players are flat," he said. "I think you have individuals that don't get themselves focused and ready to play and maybe you have a collection of four or five of them, and they make two mistakes apiece and that's 10 snaps that you've wasted out there on game day.

"In terms of as a coach you're always leery of that, you read of that, you hear of that. What we try to do is make sure we vary up the schedule enough, change enough of what we're doing to keep their minds interested in the day‑to‑day Xs and Os of it, change the schedule up. These guys have also, the last two games, haven't played the way they wanted to play.

"There's a little bit of an edge about them so they're ready to go out and play and prove themselves, and then ultimately if you're a competitor, it doesn't matter when you're playing, where you're playing, who you're playing, you love to play the game of football. "That's what we're trying to bring out of more guys in these bowl practices, find who loves football, who doesn't, and play with the motivated ones."



Chris Vannini is the lead writer for and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to

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