Spring football is less than two weeks away for the Texas Longhorns, and many fans are eagerly waiting to see what Charlie Strong and his staff can do to help raise the Longhorns back to the top of college football.
For the first time since the assistant coaches arrived in Austin, the media was given a brief look at what to expect from the Longhorns offense.
"Multiplicity is the key word," quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson said. "You want to give defenses a hard time defending us in terms of how we present ourselves in personnel groups and formations. The other aspect, and what I think is a real important part of multiplicity, is the speed part, the no huddle part, which we have all been apart of."
The multiplicity begins with the group of new assistant coaches. The majority of the offensive staff has come to Austin from all different parts of the country. Offensive coordinator Joe Wickline spent the last nine years at Oklahoma State, Watson was at Louisville for three years, running back coach Tommie Robinson spent one season at USC, wide receivers coach Les Koenning was at Mississippi State for five years and tight ends coach Bruce Chambers has been in Austin for 17 years.
Strong's staff has experience from various different levels and conferences, but all come together as a "committee" that will help put together the Longhorns' game plan.
"That's not unusual," Wickline said about the committee. "We can sit here and say it is, but somebody is going to oversee the running game, whether it will be the running back coach or the line coach. Someone will oversee the passing game. Somebody is going to oversee situations—third down, red zone, score zone, goal line—but ultimately, we're all responsible for it. We're going to do it by committee. That's how it's going to work."
"We're working by committee," Watson said. "We have put together a really unique room and Charlie (Strong) did a great job putting together all of the different pieces. So as we move forward, we are having a lot of fun putting together what we think is unique and different inside this league. Some things that will allow us to take advantage of what the defenses are laying out there."
The position on most people's minds is the quarterback. The Longhorns have been without a viable option under center for the last four seasons. Watson—who spent the previous three years working with projected first-round draft pick Teddy Bridgewater at Louisville—inherits two scholarship quarterbacks who have yet to prove that they can be consistent difference makers for the offense.
Junior David Ash has had an up and down career during his three years at Texas. He entered the 2013 season with a lot of potential, but was sidelined in Week 2 of the season with what turned out to be a season-long head injury.
Freshman Tyrone Swoopes has not had the opportunity to truly show his talents. He played a total of 52 snaps during his true freshman season, 21 of those came in the Alamo Bowl.
Speculation suggests nobody truly knows what to make of the Longhorns' quarterback situation. And from the sound of it, Watson may not know what he has to work with.
"I don't know if I have a true evaluation of Tyrone (Swoopes) because of the way he was used and the role he was used in," Watson said. "I can remember watching David (Ash) playing in the Alamo Bowl game two years ago and he had a really great ball game and did really well. I thought he was a really good player. I'm familiar with him. I know what I have seen of Tyrone on tape. But until we get out there and work, I won't really know until I see them do what we do."
The committee run offense could need all hands on deck as it pertains to the quarterback position, which, according to Watson, is the center of the offensive game plan.
"You win because of the quarterback and what he can and cannot do," Watson said. "I believe in college football today, you have to play to their skill sets. We have a base offense, a philosophical belief, and then from that we play to the talents of our players. I have had all different kinds of quarterbacks and have been in all different types of situations and basically in the end, you have to manage everything through the quarterback position. You have to do what he can do in order to execute game plans and beat your opponent."
The assistant coaches may have given their insight on how the offense will run, but the future of the Longhorns offense will remain a question mark until the quarterback situation can be determined.
All quotes were obtained first hand.
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