Charlie Strong elevates receivers coach Jay Norvell to playcaller

ByMax Olson ESPN logo
Wednesday, September 9, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas -- Charlie Strong is shaking up his coaching staff after Texas' 38-3 loss to Notre Dame.

Strong demoted co-offensive coordinators Shawn Watson and Joe Wickline on Tuesday and named receivers coach Jay Norvell his new playcaller.

"We have to get this program on track," Strong said. "We have to do a better job of coaching. There's no reason for us to go out and perform at the level we've been performing. There's no reason at all."

Norvell is in his first season at Texas after a seven-year stint as an assistant at Oklahoma, including four seasons as the Sooners' co-offensive coordinator.

Watson and Wickline will remain on staff, with Watson continuing to coach Texas' quarterbacks and Wickline continuing to coach the offensive line. Watson had been the team's primary playcaller and came with Strong from Louisville, where he'd been calling plays since 2011.

"It was a tough decision because Shawn and Joe and I have been friends for a long time," Strong said. "You have to do what's best for the program."

In the 35-point loss to the Irish, Texas' offense produced 163 total yards and eight three-and-outs. The Longhorns have lost three straight dating back to last season and rank last in the nation in total offense and No. 120 in scoring offense.

"We have to get better, and we need to continue to move forward," Strong said. "It's all about productivity, it's about building a program and building it the right way."

Strong said he has not decided whether Tyrone Swoopes or Jerrod Heard will start at quarterback against Rice in the Longhorns' home opener Saturday night.

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