Following in the footsteps of Todd Orlando is not an enviable position. Orlando crafted the Third Ward Defense into an aggressive, fast, physical, turnover making machine. He followed Herman to Austin and is now one of the highest paid assistants in college football. D’Onofrio took 2016 off after coaching Miami’s defense for Al Golden, Applewhite hired him hoping the unit wouldn’t fall off from 2016’s excellence.
Houston’s defense under D’Onofrio fell from 13th in 2016 to 89th last season. Cougars watched longingly as Orlando’s Texas defense grew into one of the best in college football during the second half of the season.