Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
The surprise promotion that designated Will Muschamp as the Longhorns' replacement when Mack Brown retires was thrilling news for Texas players.
Defensive end Brian Orakpo has seen his career blossom with a team-leading nine sacks in Muschamp's defense. But Orakpo has been excited about Muschamp's strength as a leader.
"He just has a love for the game and we feed off of that," Orakpo said. "This whole season was by far one of my favorite seasons because we can go out there and have fun with a great game plan and execute it to a T, and also have fun with our coaches. He's brought a lot of
energy to us and this whole program, on both sides of the ball. It's a tremendous honor to be coached by him."
Muschamp made his mark on the Longhorns early, but Orakpo said his tenacity and enthusiasm has helped the team throughout their 10-1 season.
"You could see it from Day 1," Orakpo said. "This guy is a player's coach. Every player loves a coach that understands him, that is very demanding, but has a lot of fun with the guys and has a great game plan going into each game.
"He's a great guy on and off the field. Like I've said all the time, he teaches with great enthusiasm each and every day, great passion, and has a way to really get the best out of each player. That's what I feel he's going to bring."
The announcement was good news for Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, who said he was told by Brown that he would return at least for next season.
"I was fired up. For the team, we were all really excited. It keeps it in the family," McCoy said. "Coach Brown has told us he's going to be here for the time that we're here, so it doesn't really affect us directly, but I think for recruiting, for the guys here right now to know that coach Muschamp is going to be here for us, that's an awesome feeling for this team. We're excited for him and for the future of our football team."
The Longhorns have struggled in recent seasons maintaining coaching continuity, losing defensive coordinators like Greg Robinson, Dick Tomey and Gene Chizik to head coaching jobs.
By designating Muschamp as the next head coach will enable the Longhorns' young defense to grow under Muschamp's teachings and philosophy, McCoy said.
"That will help tremendously," McCoy said. "I know they've fought through that a couple of times in the time that I've been here.
"Just having coach Muschamp is awesome. I've learned so much from him as a quarterback, just going against him and his defenses in the spring. I think it gives a solid foundation for this football team for years to come."
And it also won't help the team to have the excitement generated by Muschamp, a YouTube favorite because of some of his fiery exhortations from the sidelines.
"Coach Muschamp brings a ton of energy to the table," McCoy said. "He's passionate about the game. At practice, in games, in meetings, in team events he's always excited, always upbeat.
"He brings an attitude to the football team, and especially to the defense, that is pretty special. Having him around has been a blessing and I know that for a lot of years to come, he definitely will be for the Longhorns."