The 38-3 loss to Notre Dame is still resonating with the Texas Longhorns, causing head coach Charlie Strong to take some drastic action and demote his co-offensive coordinators Shawn Watson and Joe Wickline.
The two will continue to be on the staff, as Watson will still be working with the quarterbacks and try to make something out of Tyrone Swoopes while Wickline will still be working with the offensive line. That might not make too many Texas fans happy (and they haven’t been smiling since losing in the national championship game against Alabama back in the 2009 season), blaming both Watson and Wickline for the loss and for the abysmal ability. Jay Norvell, the wide receiver coach, will take over play calling duties.
Besides losing by 35 points, Texas had only 163 yards of offense in the loss at South Bend, putting them dead last in total offense among all FBS teams. They had eight three-and-outs in the game and have lost three straight dating back to last season.
With Watson as the playcaller in these last three games, Texas have failed to get a first down on 65% of their drives and positive yards on 47% of their plays. Obviously it’s not just Watson’s fault, but Charlie Strong isn’t going to fire himself, and he probably still thinks Swoopes can get the job done to a certain degree, although his confidence in the quarterback has to be close to shattered, which might give Jerrod Heard an opportunity in week 2, as Texas face Rice in the home opener.
The spread offense is a nice idea, but right now it seems a bit difficult for the quarterback and offensive line to execute. Using running back Johnathan Gray a little bit more after having just 8 carries in the loss to Notre Dame (40 yards) could be the better route to go down than keep piling on the pressure and responsibility on Swoopes, who might simply be in over his head.