Texas Regents approved a number of contracts for the athletic staff on Wednesday. Among them was a record-setting contract for defensive coordinator Todd Orlando. Orlando received approval for a three-year, guaranteed contract at a rate of $1,090,000 per year. He becomes the first Texas assistant coach to receive a contract worth $1 million annually.
The contract puts Orlando in tall cotton with the likes of respected defensive minds John Chavis ($1.5 million) and Brent Venables ($1.4 million). Such sums are generally reserved for coaches that have established a track record of dominance or as a deterrent to a quick jump to the head coaching ranks, or both. Todd Orlando meets that criteria.
Orlando is known for his attacking, pressure oriented defensive scheme with a primary emphasis on creating turnovers. His stints as DC at UConn, Utah State, and Houston consistently produced defenses that ranked at the top of the respective conferences and often were found in the elite statistical rankings nationally.
With a contract of this magnitude and duration comes pressure and expectation. The Tom Herman staff does not lack for confidence, and frankly, neither does the University of Texas. Texas should be paying its valued coaches at the top of the pay scale, though one would usually expect that to come after results have been produced. Orlando finds himself under the microscope and will be expected to steer an immediate turnaround on the 40 acres.
The 2016 Texas defense struggled to contain Big 12 offenses and struggled to regain form after giving up a deflating play. Film study of the defense reveals solid, if not dominant, play in the front 7 and a mental mistake-prone secondary. The defense was not able to play a full game on the same page. This will be Orlando’s first task. If he can get them to play consistently and cohesively, there will be immediate improvement.
Two defensive backs from Orlando’s Houston squad were selected in the 2017 NFL Draft. That measure of development will be hard to implement immediately, but with a three-year guaranteed contract, it is reasonable to expect a turnaround in the secondary. The Texas defense is well suited to his style of play and should make a quick transition.
Orlando’s defense, which Texas is paying handsomely for, will lead the turnaround effort at Texas. The offense, though talented, must be retooled to match the optimum position for success under the Herman/Beck system. Oh, by the way, Tim Beck received a similar three-year guaranteed contract in the amount of $790,000 annually. Year one is likely to be a little disjointed as the team is groomed under the new system, but leading with your defensive effort while boasting offensive potential is the ideal scenario for a smooth transition.
Texas has shown commitment and confidence to its chosen staff, as it should. Now, the expectations follow and we will soon see the results on the field.