Current Tennessee Volunteers defensive coordinator and former Boise State Broncos defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox has surfaced in the past few days as an emerging candidate for the defensive coordinator job with the University of Texas Longhorns.
Wilcox's career began with the California Golden Bears as a linebackers coach from 2003 to 2005, helping lead the Cal teams during his tenure to a 26-12 record and three straight bowl appearances.
Beginning with the 2006 season, Wilcox led the Boise State defense to some of their most successful statistical seasons in history, helping the Broncos reach highs of 14th in total defense and scoring defense and third nationally in turnover margin. He stayed until the end of 2009.
Wilcox enjoyed a lesser degree of success this past season with the Tennessee defense. The Volunteers' defensive unit finished 70th nationally in total defense (36th in pass defense and 100th in total yardage against the run).
The 2010 Volunteers team finished 6-6 and improved consistently during a season which was hampered by injuries to key contributors.
So what about Justin Wilcox has allegedly caught the eye of the Texas administration? It is rumored that Mack Brown and the Texas staff see many of the same qualities in Wilcox as in the recently departed Will Muschamp.
The Wilcox-led defensive units have the reputation of being ball-hawking, ball-swarming defenses, both at Tennessee, but more so during his time with Boise State. With the level of athletic ability at linebacker and defensive line, which many close to the Texas program feel may have been under-utilized this past season, it could make sense to bring in a coach with this philosophy.
A strong defense which can force turnovers and keep opposing offenses off the field in Big 12 play can only help Texas. Garrett Gilbert will not be under as great a degree of pressure knowing that his unit must score multiple times each game because the defense cannot stop the opposing offense.
What is certain is that the new Texas defensive coordinator will need a high level of energy to live up to the demands not only of the day-to-day coaching responsibilities, but also the demands which recruiting brings in the state of Texas. Does this high energy equate to younger candidates?
With the reports that are surfacing, it has become clear that youthful energy is going to be as much of a prerequisite to fill the defensive coordinator position as any other attribute. Does Texas want a "Will Muschamp clone" on the Forty Acres?
With the recent talk about Teryl Austin and now, Justin Wilcox, it would certainly appear so.