New Texas Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong isn’t wasting any time at all building his offensive coaching staff. Strong is opening some eyes around college football given the personnel joining him on the Forty Acres. In short, there have been some impressive, impactful hires that suggest a bright future for the Longhorns on the offensive side of the ball.
What’s curious about the process so far, however, is that the offensive staff is being built around a still vacant Offensive Coordinator slot. The assumption has to be made that the staff is being built along a philosophy that would be consistent with whomever Steve Patterson and Charlie Strong covet, but who can know for sure?
This much is certain, these men are new coaches at Texas:
Shawn Watson (formerly of Louisville)- Quarterbacks
Tommie Robinson (formerly of USC) – Running Backs
Joe Wickline (formerly of Oklahoma State and highly coveted)- Offensive Line
Beyond these three positional coaches, it’s anyone’s guess as to who the primary Offensive Coordinator candidate may be. Just as was the case with the courting of Charlie Strong, a laundry list of names has been bandied about over the past week or so, but no credence has really been placed in any of them.
At first glance, there isn’t much of a common thread among the hires of Watson, Robinson and Wickline apart from each having a demonstrable ability that will add to the overall quality of the Texas coaching staff.
Watson did an admirable job helping potential No. 1 2014 NFL Draft pick Teddy Bridgewater develop from a raw but talented youngster, to one of the most game-ready signal callers in this year’s class.
Robinson has worked with a cadre of talented running backs while at USC and will have plenty to leverage next season with John Gray, Joe Bergeron, Malcolm Brown and the arrival of talented newcomers Lorenzo Joe, Donald Catalon and D’Onta Foreman.
Wickline is the biggest home run hire of the bunch so far. Widely recognized as the best tactical offensive line coach in the country, Wickline turned Texas down during the shuffle of the summer of 2009. He’ll be working with an O-Line that returns only one starter — with the announcement yesterday by Josh Cochran that he is quitting football — and will have his hands full.
Whoever the new Texas offensive coordinator turns out to be will have an extremely talented staff with whom to work, and you have to assume this already-built staff is being used as a first-tier selling point for whoever may be the current object of Texas’ affection.
We’ll find out soon enough.
Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer and the Hiring Manager for Rant Sports.