In a completely expected move following the hires of offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert and offensive line coach/run game coordinator Matt Mattox on Friday evening, the Texas Longhorns will not extend the contracts of former play caller Shawn Watson and offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Joe Wickline, according to the Longhorn Network.
The school's television network also announced that the hires of Gilbert and Mattox are now official minutes before the official release from the school.
Speculation surrounded Watson and Wickline for much of the 2015 season. Watson looked to be on his way out ever since he was removed as the play caller following the season-opening debacle against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in South Bend, while the rumors of Wickline's departure gained steam over recent weeks until it became a virtually foregone conclusion.
Neither hire worked out particularly well for head coach Charlie Strong -- the titles and roles of both were always confusing, Watson's offense never looked like a strong fit for the personnel at Texas or the wide-open Big 12 conference, and Wickline's tenure was marked by the cloud of the Oklahoma State lawsuit hanging over the program and a lack of success on the recruiting trail.
The chops of Wickline as an offensive line coach still aren't in question, but he never quite fit and his seeming lack of interest in recruiting was a big problem for a staff that didn't have any rainmakers on the offensive staff other than tight ends coach Jeff Traylor, who didn't join the Longhorns until after the 2015 class already signed.
To put it bluntly, the two most important hires made offensively by Strong when he arrived were major failures that undermined his job security and hurt Texas on the field and on the recruiting trail. In large part because of those decisions, Strong almost certainly won't have a third opportunity to get the hires right at those spots.