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A timeline of the Texas Longhorns' struggles to find an offense

In Charlie Strong's third year at Texas, the Longhorns are now on their third offensive playcaller. But the troubles started before he arrived.

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Texas is considered one of the nation's premier coaching destinations. So why haven't the Longhorns been able to figure out an answer on the offensive side of the ball?

The scoring problems started during the later years under Mack Brown, and have continued for Texas under Charlie Strong. The Longhorns have not ranked in the top half of the Big 12 in scoring offense since 2009. That season was the team's last national title appearance, and its last double-digit win total.

With the dramatic hiring of Tulsa co-OC Sterlin Gilbert on Friday night, Strong is now likely on his third offensive playcaller in three years (or fourth, if you believe Joe Wickline's lawsuit). A former graduate assistant under Art Briles at Houston, Gilbert coached under former Briles Baylor assistants Dino Babers and Philip Montgomery and is expected to try to bring a Baylor-type offense to Austin, despite not calling offensive plays at either of his previous two stops.

But Gilbert wouldn't be the first offensive coordinator to struggle in Austin recently. It's been a few years of misery for Texas fans on that side of the ball.

September 26, 2010. Texas loses 34-12 to UCLA at home, its first home loss since 2007 and worst home loss ever to that point under Mack Brown. The Longhorns turned the ball over five times, and go on to turn it over 30 times on the year. Offensive coordinator Greg Davis resigns at the end of the season. Former Texas quarterback Major Applewhite and Boise State offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin go on to serve as co-offensive coordinators from 2011-2012.

December 14, 2013. Mack Brown resigns after 16 years as Texas head coach. Offense had been an issue for several years, largely because of poor quarterback play, and the Longhorns score 13, 10 and seven points in three losses in their final four games of the year. Applewhite is out as well.

January 5, 2014. Charlie Strong agrees to a five-year contract at the University of Texas that will pay him $5 million each year. Louisville offensive coordinator Shawn Watson arrives with him.

January 12, 2014. Texas hires Oklahoma State offensive line coach Joe Wickline, naming him offensive coordinator.

September 6, 2014. Texas gets demolished 41-7 by BYU at home. The defense is the primary culprit, but the Longhorn offense only amasses 258 yards and turns the ball over four times en route to its worst home defeat since "Route 66," a 66-3 loss to UCLA in 1997.

October 23, 2014. Wickline and Oklahoma State sue each other. Wickline claims he is the Longhorns' playcaller, despite all evidence pointing to Watson calling plays. At stake is a significant buyout in Wickline's contract.

November 27, 2014TCU throttles Texas in Austin, 48-10. The loss drops the Longhorns to 6-6 in Strong's first season on the sideline.

December 29, 2014. Arkansas beats the brakes off of Texas in the Texas Bowl, 31-7. It's a victory that Razorback coach Bret Bielema will come to cherish.

January 22, 2015. Wickline's lawsuit against Oklahoma State is dismissed in Texas. Oklahoma State's lawsuit continues.


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September 8, 2015. Charlie Strong revokes play-calling duties from Watson and hands the reins to wide receivers coach Jay Norvell. His explanation is simple: "It's about productivity," Strong said. "We have to get better."

October 8, 2015. Texas is expected to settle with Oklahoma State in the Wickline lawsuit.

October 28, 2015. Norvell tells reporters he's "not overly concerned" about Texas's passing game. That week, the Longhorns gain 85 passing yards in a shutout loss to Iowa State.

December 4, 2015. Texas finishes the 2015 season at 5-7, somehow beating both Oklahoma and Baylor along the way. That includes a 24-0 loss to a 3-9 Iowa State team and a 50-7 defeat to no-longer-little-brother TCU.

December 5, 2015. Texas offers TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie the outright offensive coordinator job with the Longhorns. Cumbie would be a home-run hire.

December 9, 2015. After four days of deliberation, Cumbie declines the Texas offer, reportedly because the university couldn't assure him that Strong would be with the program past 2016.

December 10, 2015. Tulsa co-offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert reportedly accepts the offensive coordinator job at Texas.

December 11, 2015. Tulsa co-offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert reportedly declines the offensive coordinator job at Texas.

December 11, 2015. Strong, athletic director Mike Perrin and school president Greg Fenves reportedly fly to meet Gilbert in Tulsa. Trials and tribulations behind them, they successfully get Gilbert to sign on for the job.

December 12, 2015. Texas announces Wickline and Watson will not return in 2016, disposing of two offensive coordinators at once.