Tuesday Dimes with Shawn Watson

Longhorns Assistant Head for Offense/Quarterbacks Shawn Watson met with the media on Tuesday and shared his thoughts on numerous UT topics.

Watson said that the coaching staff had agreed prior to Texas’ game-winning drive that if UT could get a good enough return that it would take some shots to try to get into field goal range for Nick Rose.

“We had a plan before we ever got in that situation,” Watson said.

He echoed Charlie Strong’s sentiments about Roderick Bernard doing a great job on the return to get Texas into good enough position to set the plan in motion.


By now you’ve probably seen the video of Watson in the press box going ballistic near the end of the game against the Cyclones.

The assistant coaches in the booth with him looked a little scared but Watson insists that he was in a celebratory mood.

“Everybody asked me about it. I was excited,” he said. “When you go through something like that you are playing tendencies that happen during a game. There were some tendencies going into the game that were validated during the game. To be able to nail a call during the game in a critical situation, you have to trust your instincts because it has to happen again.”

Watson joked that his wife told him he had to tone it down.

“But whenever I have to tone it down I’m going to retire,” he said.


Daje Johnson is still listed as day-to-day, per Watson.

“Still working with him. He’ll be day-to-day,” he said. “Will try to push him out there.”

Johnson was seen working out with a trainer on the field of DKR on Monday, and didn’t appear to be limited at all. He injured him hamstring early on against Baylor.


Watson did not have much to say when asked whether he thought Desmond Harrison would redshirt this season.

“That’s probably better for Charlie,” Watson said. “He’s the 51 percent on that.”


You might be wondering why Jerrod Heard doesn’t wear a headset on the sidelines but Trey Holtz and even Logan Vinklarek do. Watson has an easy explanation for that.

Basically Holtz and Vinklarek are involved in distributing play signals so they need to have the headset. Watson doesn’t want Heard wearing a headset because he wants him to be able to watch the game.

As for the development of Heard, Watson said that with the way Texas practices he gets a lot of reps in practice.

“We’ve been able to bring him along,” Watson said. “He’s actually been able to share reps in 7-on-7 because of the way we practice. He gets looks against the opponent that we are fixing to play.”

Heard also gets a scout period where he’ll act as the opposing quarterback.


The maturation of Tyrone Swoopes was again on full display Saturday.

He followed a 334-yard passing effort against OU (two throwing TDs) with a 321-yard performance against ISU (1 throwing TD) and added 95 yards and a score on the ground.

But he’s still lacking that critical win against a Top 25 opponent, which Watson said is important for his development.

“Every QB has to go out and get the big win,” he said. “Those big wins begin to define your career. It’s goes along with winning championships. That’s an important part of his development.”

Swoopes will have an opportunity to get that win against a ranked opponent this week at No. 11 Kansas State.

Watson seems confident that Swoopes will be able to get the job done given the progress he saw against ISU.

“He played really well. He took a big step,” Watson said. “He played really well against Oklahoma and took another big step this week. I think what you see is you see him playing with confidence.

“On a more consistent basis he is playing free. He is not processing, he’s not thinking. He’s just trusting and reacting. He’s really learning how to prepare.”


Watson said he scripts the beginning of the game as well as the third quarter. Sometimes those plans get interrupted by the opposing defense.

A lot of what Watson does early is for rhythm purposes and to get touches for certain people, to get them acclimated into the flow of the game.

“We aren’t only trying to create rhythm but we are trying to create touches for guys who could impact the game early.”

He said the first 21 plays of the ISU game were scripted.


Texas’ struggles against KSU are well documented.

The Longhorns are 1-5 in Manhattan. KSU win 42-24 the last time these two teams played there.

Watson said all the credit should go to the atmosphere Bill Snyder has created surrounding that program.

“They’ve got a nice culture going on there,” he said. “Coach Snyder is an icon in our business. It’s a tough place to go. They are always into the game. The students are right behind you. And they are very loyal. Their fans remind me of Nebraska fans. They are there rain or shine. They are behind their team. They’ve created a culture there that [Snyder] should get all the credit for.”


The story of John Harris has been told before, but it just doesn’t get old does it?

He’s somebody that hadn’t done much of anything prior to this season and even thought about quitting before the season.

But he trimmed down, got into much better shape and is putting together one of the more impressive seasons of anyone in the Big 12 with 40 catches for a team-high 607 yards and a team-high six touchdowns.

He’s quickly grown into a model for what the Longhorns are looking for out of their players.

“He’s become the poster child for what we want. He’s invested himself in our program and invested himself in what he expected to get out of it.

“I remember he was considering not coming back because he was disappointed in some of the things that went on in his career before we got here. He was really down and got heavy. We basically said ‘Look, give us a guy to coach you.’”

Watson compared him to DeVante Parker, who was one of Louisville’s best offensive weapons – a big-bodied receiver that could work the boundaries and could be moved around.

“John just plays at such a high, competitive level,” Watson said. “He’s got a great competitive edge.”


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