In the wake of Texas Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong demoting assistant coach Shawn Watson from play-calling duties, the Oklahoma State Cowboys requested multiple new depositions to makes it case against Longhorns offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Joe Wickline, according to the Associated Press.
As Oklahoma State seeks to prove that Wickline did not receive a promotion to "play-calling duties" when he left Stillwater for Austin in January of 2014, the school wants to interview Strong, Watson, Wickline, new play caller Jay Norvell, and former athletic director Steve Patterson. Perhaps even associate athletic director Arthur Johnson and junior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes, who was the starter from the second game of the 2014 season until he lost his job to redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard against Rice.
At stake is the $600,000 buyout Wickline would owe to Oklahoma State if it can prove that he wasn't actually calling plays for the Longhorns.
The best way for Texas to avoid what could be more embarrassing depositions is to ensure that the case doesn't go to trial, although Wickline already reportedly turned down a $250,000 settlement prior to Watson's demotion.
And the first round of depositions were certainly rather embarrassing. There was the time that Strong forgot the first name of his starting quarterback (all typos original to deposition):
Q. Who are your current quarterback on your -- on your team right now?
Q. What's his -- what's his first name?
A. He goes by Swoops. Jarrod Heard. What's my man's first name? I -- done went blank on me.
Q. That happens to me. I call them senior moments. We're getting up there.
A. I know it.
Q. I didn't look, but is Ty --
A. Tyrone Swoops.
Q. All right.
And there was the time when Strong wasn't even sure how many plays Wickline called in the Texas Bowl:
Q. Okay. Arkansas game, ran 43 plays. How many of those did -- were -- was Joe Wickline responsible for?
A. Bad day.
Q. Not much offensive production that day.
A. 43 plays. Not much at all.
Q. A lot of offensive -- I mean, a lot of running plays that game, weren't there?
A. I don't know.
Q. So did Joe call most of the plays on that day?
A. I don't remember. It was an awful day. It's -- I don't want to remember that game we were so bad.
Q. Between your two guys calling offensive plays that day, who called more of them, Joe or Shawn?
A. I don't know that.
So...yeah. Not some of Strong's finest moments.
With Strong seemingly making it clear that Watson was the play caller and not Wickline by his decision after the Notre Dame game, if nothing else, settling the lawsuit would serve the best interests of Texas, but Patterson refused to do so, saying that he felt it was an issue between Wickline and his former employer.
Perhaps new interim athletic director Mike Perrin could take a different stance, especially if some donors are willing to step up and relieve the potential financial burden on Wickline, who got caught in the middle of this silliness for reasons that still aren't entirely clear.
Why didn't Texas just pay the buyout in the first place? Strong did, after all, declare that Watson was the "one, final voice" in deciding play calls right after he took the job. Why wasn't Watson just made the offensive coordinator in the first place, as he seemed to be in all but name? Did Wickline ask for an ultimately meaningless promotion in order to justify leaving Oklahoma State?
None of those questions have satisfactory answers.
Both Patterson and Perrin hold law degrees, but perhaps Perrin is the one possessing the political acumen and willingness to make this all go away before it becomes a further distraction to a program that needs to muster all the concentration it can to win games.