Will Shawn Watson and Joe Wickline end up as Texas co-OCs?

Ronald Martinez

Shawn Watson as play caller is now trending.

Charlie Strong's first Texas Longhorns coaching staff is nearly complete, but there has been little movement since Sunday evening, when confirmation emerged from the Oklahoma State side that offensive line coach Joe Wickline had accepted a similar position in Austin.

What still isn't' clear is what exactly that position will be. And likewise, what positions quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson will hold.

With one or two positions still available on the offensive staff, that of wide receivers coach and possibly tight ends coach, the Horns could add an offensive coordinator who would hold the dual roles of wide receivers coach and offensive or co-offensive coordinator.

That person will not be East Carolina offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, who was a rumored candidate for the offensive coordinator position over the weekend and has ties to the state after coaching at Texas Tech for years. At 30 years old, Riley is a bit of a prodigy because of his youth, but 247Sports is reporting that he is not a candidate and it now appears that Riley is angling towards the open position at Notre Dame as quarterbacks coach.

A report out of Florida on Monday held that Florida wide receivers coach Joker Phillips is a candidate for the offensive coordinator position at Texas, the only significant news with Phillips since his name surfaced in connection to the openings on the Longhorns staff.

The question is whether he's more likely to land that job or end up as the wide receivers coach only, were he to accept a position at Texas.

As for Chicago Bears wide receivers coach Mike Groh, the other name mentioned on Sunday evening, 247Sports also has news on him -- that he would not consider moving for the same position at Texas, which certainly passes the smell test.

So it appears that unless Strong opts to bring in Phillips as the offensive coordinator or a co-offensive coordinator or somehow manages to land a big name that isn't really out there right now with Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman's name out of the running, then the offense will fall to Wickline and Watson.

In that scenario, it would make sense for Wickline to coordinate the running game with his aptitude managing the offensive line and Watson would bring his West Coast passing concepts or some variation of them to the passing game while working with the quarterbacks.

Before making the move to Stillwater, Wickline was the running game coordinator at Middle Tennessee State and then Florida. And unless he called plays during his one season as the head coach at Southwest Mississippi Community College in 1996, he hasn't called plays since 1987, when he was in his third season as the offensive coordinator at Delta State.

In other words, of the two, Watson is the most likely play caller, a scenario that has likely become more palatable for Texas fans since the home-run addition of Wickline, who brings the up-tempo spread expertise and play packaging from Oklahoma State that helped make the Cowboys one of the most consistently productive offenses in recent years.

Together the two could assemble an offense that would mitigate the holes for Watson in terms of pace and running game development, with the new wide receivers coach perhaps providing some non-West Coast passing game knowledge. Air Raid anyone?

Of course, Texas already had someone on staff who had experience in that area in Darrell Wyatt, but with former tight ends coach Bruce Chambers now listed in the UT directory as a "special assistant," it looks like Strong will not retain any of Mack Brown's staff in their former position, with the exception of several strength and conditioning coaches.

That's too bad for Wyatt, who did a strong job in Austin, and perhaps even for the 2014 recruiting class as wide receiver commits Garrett Gray and Emanuel Porter look around. Throw in the spread acumen from Wyatt's time with Todd Graham and Larry Fedora and keeping Wyatt around is even more appealing, though highly unlikely to happen.

So, Texas fans, how appealing would it be to have Shawn Watson as the quarterbacks coach/co-offensive coordinator/play caller and Joe Wickline as the offensive line coach/co-offensive coordinator/running game coordinator?

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