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Shawn Watson to Texas

Freshly-minted Texas head coach Charlie Strongannounced Shawn Watson as his offensive coordinator today. It's a decision that simultaneously makes perfect sense and absolutely no sense whatsoever.

First, the obvious. A head coach should have autonomy over who he hires and complete confidence in the coaches working for him. It may have taken a while, but Strong has that in Watson. He gleefully approved of the offensive approach Louisville took under Watson, and why wouldn't he? The Cardinals went 23-3 over the past two seasons with a future No. 1 pick pulling the trigger.

Watson will continue to forge the Texas football program in the identity its head coach wants it to be forged in, which is why they hired him in the first place.

Then, on the other side of this coin, one has to look at why Strong was so pleased with Louisville's offense, and attempt to project how that offense will fare in a foreign league. Watson's offense existed to score points while simultaneously maintaining possession to allow the Louisville defense to be in the best possible position to succeed. The Cardinals finished second in the country in time of possession and went 12-1. The plan worked.

Plays Per Game, 2013
Texas Tech - 87.3
Baylor - 82.7
Texas - 77.3
Oklahoma State - 75.9
Texas A&M - 73.4
Oklahoma - 72.5
Louisville - 68.8
TCU - 68.5

Plays Defended Per Game
Louisville - 59.9
Oklahoma - 64.7
TCU - 73.8
Texas - 74.3
Texas A&M - 74.8
Baylor - 75.8
Texas Tech - 78.1

Strong obviously engineers his team around the defense and that 59.9 plays defended per game number (third lowest in FBS), but the Connecticuts and Temples of the world are much more compliant in helping your defense get off the field. Baylor, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will put up a much stronger resistance. 

On the surface, this running a ball control offense in the fast break Big 12 is like walking into a Coca-Cola factory and asking them to make toothpaste. At the very least, that's how this will be spun to recruits. 

We don't know what exactly the Texas 2014 offense will look like, or how closely it will resemble the Louisville's 2013 offense. It's worth noting that Watson's Nebraska offenses ranked ninth nationally in total offense, seventh in passing and 28th in scoring in 2007, and 12th in total offense, 15th in passing 17th in scoring in 2008. But in the five seasons since, Louisville's 25th place finish in scoring offense this season represents Watson's highest finish.