…hello, Shawn Watson.
Shawn Watson, a 35-year coaching veteran who owns an extensive and accomplished record overseeing offenses on the collegiate level, has been named offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Pitt by Pat Narduzzi.
Watson previously served as offensive coordinator at Texas (2014-15), Louisville (2012-13), Nebraska (2007-10) and Colorado (2000-05). He also has head coaching experience on his résumé, serving in that capacity at his alma mater, Southern Illinois, from 1994-96.
Watson joins the Panthers from Indiana, where he spent the 2016 season as an offensive quality control assistant before being named the Hoosiers’ quarterback coach. His Pitt appointment serves as a reunion with Narduzzi. The pair previously worked together on the late Randy Walker’s staff at Miami (Ohio) from 1990-92.
“Shawn Watson was one of my first mentors in this business,” Narduzzi said. “He sat me down as a young coach and taught me how to work with wide receivers in my first full-time job at Miami in the early 1990s. Ever since that time, we have always talked about being able to reunite on the same staff again. I’m really thrilled that the time has finally arrived and he’ll be joining us at Pitt as our new offensive coordinator.
“Shawn is, first and foremost, a wonderful person and father,” Narduzzi added. “As a football coach, he is extremely knowledgeable, an excellent recruiter and will be a tremendous strength in the quarterback room and offensive staff room. I’m really looking forward to having Shawn and his wife Anita join us in Pittsburgh.”
I think most Pitt fans will concede that their first reaction to the name, was hardly, “Oh, hell yes!”
But it shouldn’t have been, “Oh, shit!” Either.
The latter would have been reasonable only if the name had been Scott Loeffler.
As expected, Head Coach Pat Narduzzi went with both an experienced OC and a guy that can coach QBs. That has been consistent.
Watson brings a solid if mixed resume to Pitt.
The obvious highlight is his time at Louisville with Teddy Bridgewater. Watson is a solid hand at handling and developing quarterbacks. He likes running the ball and is a proponent of (geez, it really is a sign I’m old; why I remember when this was the new-fangled thing…) a more traditional West Coast style offense using the short pass and running backs in the receiving game.
The obvious lowlight was the time in Texas. DO NOT ask Shawn Watson to implement a spread offense.
He isn’t a young, hot name in the offensive ranks, but Narduzzi was never going that direction.
Obviously Texas fans dislike him. Louisville fans have mixed feelings, as did Nebraska fans.
If you are basing your reactions on how the fans of former teams are reacting, you might be slightly panicked. It is also fair to point out that Illinois fans scoffed at Tim Salem being hired — after he was scapegoated as a bad recruiter. And NC State fans hardly shed a tear when Matt Canada was fired.
The toughest thing for Watson will be the inevitable comparisons to this past season’s offense. It’s not completely fair when you look at the returning experience at every position but WR that Canada inherited, but…
At the same time he is harldy walking into an empty shell. A (likely) graduate transfer, former 5-star recruit at QB. More experience, size and depth at WR. Talent (albeit, kind of raw) but lots of depth at RB. A still rather stout O-line. If not ready made for success, there is a feeling that this is more sous vide cooking rather than requiring precise baking.