Texas' Thompson Adapts to "Change" With New Longhorns Staff

Josh Thompson is now on his third defensive coordinator, but change has only enhanced his skills.
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Change is accustom in the realm of football. For Josh Thompson, he's seen firsthand how it can impact a culture. 

The Texas cornerback was initially recruited by Charlie Strong out of Nacogdoches in 2017. However, it was always about wearing orange and white and not just playing for a certain system. 

"I never wanted to commit to a coach and just commit to a school because that's just where I want to be," Thompson said Tuesday. "You just got to find out how to go through adverse situations and it'll help you in the long run."

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Texas will be starting over again in 2021. The team elected to fire Tom Herman after four seasons, hoping that former Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian can elevate the program to the next level. 

Thompson, a redshirt senior, now will be learning his third defensive scheme in five years. While cornerbacks overall won't change much, the coverages ran under new DC Pete Kwiatkowski might be a different approach than what worked under Chris Ash or Todd Orlando.

Thompson believes that while he'll be on his fourth defensive back coach, each one has helped his overall game transform to the next level. 

"I'm just taking in everything each coach gives me and I think that's what helps me in playing DB," Thompson said. "Each coach gives me a different technique. I'm gonna use that and put it in my toolbox and go from there." 

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Kwiatkowski's defensive front might bode well for the development of the secondary in 2021. During his time in Washington, the 4-2-5 base scheme pushed the attention on coverage being the x-factor of the defense. 

The laundry list of NFL talent that played in the secondary under Kwiatkowski also provides context on what the Longhorns hope to achieve. 

As the veteran, Thompson will be spotting talent looking to rise up the ranks. After the first day in padded practice, freshman Jamier Johnson has been a standout on the opposing side of the field. 

"He listens," Thompson said of the Pasadena, Calif. native. "Him and JD Coffey III, those are two freshmen that came in just ready to compete and everything they do is with a purpose. I'm very high on those guys."

New faces are expected to make a name for themselves next season in the secondary. Not all will be young talent. The Longhorns expect big things from grad transfer Darion Dunn out of McNeese State. 

Thompson so far has been impressed by the playmaking ability the former first-team All-Southland Conference member has shown in a short time. 

"He comes out high energy every day," Thompson said of Dunn. "He's smart. He's a great athlete, fast, does everything right and he doesn't make any mistakes. He's just been accountable and that's what we need. More guys on this team just like that."

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Under a new coaching staff, things will change. The good news for Thompson is that playing in a multitude of systems has him better prepared for the season. 

After moving back to cornerback in 2020, it'll be about building off the success for 2021. Last season, Thompson focused on the physical side of the position. 

This year, he'll look to expand the mental side. 

Said Thompson: "A big part of my game is my mental area and I just want to take that in the long run." 

The Longhorns will end spring practice on April 24 with the annual Orange-White scrimmage. Kick-off will be set at 1 p.m.


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