The Midweek Football News Roundup


Coach Charlie Strong is shaking up his offensive coaching staff, to the shock of exactly no one. After a 38-3 drubbing at the hands of Notre Dame in South Bend on Saturday night, fans called for co-offensive coordinator Shawn Watson’s firing, when it seemed like the slow-paced, low-octane offense of 2014 had carried over into this season. That didn’t happen this week—Watson is still with the staff—but his role will be different moving forward. Here’s what we know going into Saturday’s home opener against Rice.

  • Quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Shawn Watson will no longer call plays for the Longhorns. The longtime Strong assistant—he took over play-calling duties for Mike Sanford midway through the 2011 season when he and the Texas head coach were at Louisville—will still work with quarterbacks Tyrone Swoopes and Jerrod Heard. “It’s always tough. You have to set aside your friendship. You have to do what’s right for your program,” Strong said, at the press conference announcing the change on Monday.
  • This also means that Joe Wickline, the offensive line coach and other co-offensive coordinator, will also have his play-calling duties stripped because …
  • Strong named wide receivers coach Jay Norvell the new play-caller yesterday, a position Norvell hasn’t held in almost nine years. Norvell was co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Oklahoma from 2008-14 (he didn’t call plays in that role), and called plays at UCLA in 2007 and three years at Nebraska before that. Watson and Norvell were on the same staff at Nebraska in 2006. “It’s about fixing the problem,” Strong said, of the switch. “You either accept the problem or divorce yourself from it, and you just let it go. I couldn’t let it go.” Texas has been outscored 117-20 in its past three games.
  • We still don’t know who will start at quarterback against Rice this weekend, as Strong said they will compete this week in practice for the job.
  • “If you a fan of the University of Texas, you’re gonna have your asses in those seats,” said defensive coordinator Vance Bedford at his weekly press conference after it was announced that there were 15,000 unsold tickets to the Rice game. “If you are truly a Longhorn, you are there,” he concluded. “You should be like the postman … rain … sleet … mud.”

Image via UT Athletics.


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