They are the men usually hidden up in the coaches box or behind a clipboard on the sideline, but their impact on the field is as big as nearly anyone. With some of the best offensive minds in the game, the Big 12 Conference has emerged as one of nation's most elite conferences when it comes to moving the football. Today, HI.com breaks down the Big 12's top offensive coordinators heading into fall camp.
Few teams featured a more decorated offense than Texas last season under Greg Davis. Entering his 13th season in Austin, Davis's scheme helped the Longhorns rank third nationally with an average of 39.3 points per game, 29th with 421.2 total yards and 22nd with 273.6 passing yards. He also guided quarterback Colt McCoy to lead the nation in completion percentage (70.6) for the second straight year and earn the WCFF Player of the Year Award, Maxwell Award, Davey O'Brien Award, Unitas Golden Arm Award and the Manning Award. Receiver Jordan Shipley was also a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award and set school records for receptions (116) and receiving yards (1,485) and tied the record for receiving touchdowns (13).
2. Kevin Wilson, Oklahoma
Even after losing Heisman Trophy quarterback Sam Bradford for the season and seeing eight more starters miss significant playing time or suffer season-ending injuries, Oklahoma's Kevin Wilson still managed to put together a potent offensive attack. Back-up quarterback Landry Jones led all freshmen with 23 touchdown passes, as the Sooners ranked third in the Big 12 in total offense (423.8 ypg) and passing yards (289.2). With a year of experience under Landry's belt and a fully healthy roster to work with once again, Wilson should have OU back up and running like usual this season.
3. Chuck Long, Kansas
Kansas coach Turner Gill couldn't have brought in a much more qualified coach to lead the Jayhawks' offense in his debut season. The former Iowa Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback earned his stripes as the quarterbacks coach at Oklahoma under head coach Bob Stoops from 2000-05. Though he went just 9-27 after taking the head-coaching job at San Diego State, Long brings a long resume of success and putting up big offensive numbers to the Jayhawks.
4. Dana Holgorsen, Oklahoma State
With an offensive scheme that's already been dubbed by some as basketball on grass, Oklahoma State should be in for a wild ride under new offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen. A student of former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach from 2000-07, Holgorsen took the aerial assault to Houston when he took over as the offensive coordinator in 2008. Last season, the Cougars led the nation in scoring (42.2 ppg), passing yards (433 ypg) and total offense (563 ypg). Oklahoma State is obviously hoping for similar results.
5. Shawn Watson, Nebraska
Many of you will probably scoff at the notion of putting Nebraska's Shawn Watson on this list, but hear us out. With the display the Huskers put on in their win over Arizona in the Holiday Bowl, there's reason to believe that Watson is finally feeling comfortable enough to open up his offense and maximize its capabilities. He's got plenty of options and experience to work with at quarterback, and his running game ranks among the best in college football. So long as the same offense that showed up in San Diego shows up this fall, NU could be putting up some nice offensive numbers once again.