Texas' last four offensive coordinators (Greg Davis, left; Bryan Harsin, top right; Major Applewhite, middle right; and Shawn Watson, bottom right) all enjoyed varying degrees of success with the Longhorns.

BEVO BEAT Football

A closer look at Texas’ offensive coordinators

Posted January 5th, 2016

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Last month Texas hired Sterlin Gilbert as its new offensive coordinator. Let’s a take a look at the men he’s following at Texas.

TEXAS’ LAST FIVE PLAY-CALLERS

ORG XMIT: CAMT109 Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis, right, smiles at quarterback Colt McCoy during a news conference Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010, in Newport Beach, Calif., ahead of the BCS Championship NCAA college football game against Alabama on Thursday. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis, right, smiles at quarterback Colt McCoy during a news conference Jan. 3, 2010, in Newport Beach, Calif., ahead of the BCS Championship NCAA college football game against Alabama. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

1998-2010: Greg Davis

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Davis was connected to Mack Brown going back to the mid-1980s, when he served as Brown’s assistant head coach at Tulane. He rejoined Brown at North Carolina as the Tar Heels’ offensive coordinator in 1996, and followed him to Texas in 1998. He ended up being the country’s second-highest paid offensive coordinator in 2008, but resigned after the 5-7 season of 2010. Blessed with solid quarterbacks to work with at Texas, from Major Applewhite and Chris Simms to Vince Young and Colt McCoy, Davis’ time in Austin was marked by high success.

Ricardo B. Brazziell AMERICAN-STATESMAN 9/3/11 Bryan Harsin - Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks during the first home game against Rice on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011.
Bryan Harsin, co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks, during the first home game against Rice on Sept. 3, 2011. (RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

2011-12: Bryan Harsin

Harsin arrived at Texas as one of college football’s rising coordinators, following a successful four-year stint running Boise State’s offense to a 61-5 record and two undefeated seasons. But there was a dropoff at quarterback – the on-again, off-again era of Garrett Gilbert, David Ash and Case McCoy – and Harsin left prior to the 2012 Alamo Bowl to succeed Gus Malzahn as Arkansas State’s head coach. He’s now coaching Boise State.

University of Texas assistant coach Major Applewhite coaches before the start of the New Mexico State University game at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, August 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner) AUSTIN CHRONICLE OUT, COMMUNITY IMPACT OUT, INTERNET MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM
University of Texas assistant coach Major Applewhite coaches before the start of the New Mexico State University game at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Aug. 31, 2013. (JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

2013: Major Applewhite

When Harsin left for Arkansas State, it was Applewhite who called the plays in Texas’ 31-27 win over Oregon State in the 2012 Alamo Bowl. His one full season as the Longhorns’ play-caller was 2013, Brown’s final year. Texas was 8-5. He left when Charlie Strong took over the program at the beginning of 2014 and is now Tom Herman’s OC at Houston.

UT assistant coach Shawn Watson watches his team warm up before the Baylor game at McLane Stadium in Waco on Saturday December 5, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
UT assistant coach Shawn Watson watches his team warm up before the Baylor game at McLane Stadium in Waco on Dec. 5, 2015. (JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

2014: Shawn Watson

After developing Teddy Bridgewater into a first-round NFL selection, expectations were high. But Ash was lost for the season in the opener, and the offense went south as Tyrone Swoopes learned on the fly; Texas hovered near No. 100 nationally for all major offensive categories. And his final two games calling plays were disasters – an effort of only 59 total yards in the 2014 Texas Bowl loss to Arkansas and this season’s 38-3 opening loss at Notre Dame.

UT assistant coach Jay Norvell yells during pregame warmups before the Rice game at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Saturday September 12, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
UT assistant coach Jay Norvell yells during pregame warmups before the Rice game at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Sept. 12, 2015. (JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

2015: Jay Norvell

Norvell, who came to Texas in the offseason from Bob Stoops’ staff at Oklahoma, took over play-calling duties the week of the second game. The running game enjoyed a bounce back, and Norvell is credited with reinventing Swoopes into a short-yardage specialist. Still, Texas was 5-7 and Norvell was also there for a 7-point effort at TCU, and the shutout loss at Iowa State on Halloween.

Recent Texas offensive rankings

How Texas has ranked nationally in key offensive categories, beginning with the season following the 2005 national championship win over USC, and who spent that year calling the Longhorns’ plays
YearOffensive CoordinatorWon-LossScoring RushingPassingTotal offense
2006Davis10-36th34th33rd22nd
2007Davis10-314th17th39th13th
2008Davis12-15th41st7th9th
2009Davis13-13rd61st22nd29th
2010Davis5-788th66th50th58th
2011Harsin8-555th21st86th54th
2012Harsin9-423rd53rd41st40th
2013Applewhite8-565th36th79th64th
2014Watson6-7106th98th88th110th
2015Norvell5-783rd18th117th92nd

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