As landing spots go, ending up in the relative football backwater of Bloomington to work for the Indiana Hoosiers is hardly a soft one for former Texas Longhorns play caller Shawn Watson, who was announced as an offensive quality control coach for head coach Kevin Wilson on Tuesday.
Watson and Wilson know each other from their days working together at Miami (Ohio), but the position represents something like coaching purgatory, as Watson can help with aspects of the game plan, self-scouting, and breaking down opposing film, but can't recruit off campus or be involved in the direct coaching of players.
After serving as the offensive coordinator at Louisville under Texas head coach Charlie Strong and then joining Strong's first staff in Austin as the assistant head coach for the offense/quarterbacks coach, it's a precipitous fall for Watson, who spent the 2014 season as the play caller for Strong, then got demoted after the season-opening debacle against Notre Dame in South Bend.
Having spent the entire offseason supposedly re-tooling the offense, it was more of the same for Watson. By the end of the season, he was accused of "needing to prove he was the smartest guy in the room," as one source put it to Horns247, and was let go by the Longhorns when the school officially announced the hire of Sterlin Gilbert as offensive coordinator.
For a guy who was once the head coach at Southern Illinois and hasn't been in a position like this one since serving as a graduate assistant at Illinois in 1984, this new job may represent quite the hit to his ego. Maybe that was exactly what he needed.