When is an offensive coordinator not an offensive coordinator? And is Texas assistant Joe Wickline really one? A Texas judge is set to consider these questions after Wickline filed suit in Travis County, claiming he is the Longhorns' play-caller.
That sounds all terribly bizarre -- until you realize a substantial amount of money is involved. Wickline's lawsuit isn't against anybody at Texas; it's against Oklahoma State, Wickline's former team, which is demanding he buy his contract out after taking the job at Texas, thanks to one unusual clause. Here's more from the Austin American-Statesman:
The same day Wickline was announced as Texas' new offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, OSU officials hurriedly forwarded a copy of his contract to the American-Statesman. There was a noticeable clause. According to the contract, Wickline would owe OSU the balance of his contract unless he was named offensive coordinator "with play-calling duties" or went to the NFL. At the time, Wickline was signed at OSU through 2016.
All Austin-based media who cover the team daily now refer to quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson as the team's play caller. Texas officials have never disputed this or made any effort to correct anyone.
Then on May 6, OSU sent another letter and "claimed that coach Wickline was lying about his position" and that Texas officials were "attempting to aid" him in avoiding the terms of the deal. OSU claimed that UT gave Wickline "the misleading title of offensive coordinator."
Wickline's case sounds like a tough one, unless there's some sort of shadow play-calling system that Wickline controls and Texas chooses not to publicize for whatever reason. The Play-call-uminati!
Watson recently caught the nation's attention with this press box fireworks show in the waning moments of last week's Iowa State game. You'll notice the Burnt Orange Nation headline credits Shawn Watson as the "play caller." This followed an offseason in which neither coach's role was all that clear.
Wickline was a longtime offensive line coach for the Cowboys who had success with the team. The reason the contract is even worded this way is to remove any incentive that may have existed for Wickline to take a similar OL job for another college team -- which is precisely what Oklahoma State thinks Wickline in fact did.
Sports and money, man.