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Is Louisville OC Shawn Watson really a candidate at Auburn?

Louisville offensive coordinator Shawn Watson has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Gene Chizik.

Is Shawn Watson a smokescreen for Charlie Strong?
Is Shawn Watson a smokescreen for Charlie Strong?
Andy Lyons

With Auburn head coach Gene Chizik likely to be fired at the end of this historically bad season, speculation on possible replacements has run rampant. Many fans would like to see Louisville head coach Charlie Strong considered for the job, but another name on the Cardinals' coaching staff has come to the surface: offensive coordinator Shawn Watson. Auburn Undercover's Phillip Marshall reports Watson as a name Auburn president Jay Gogue has mentioned ($).

Gogue mentioned at least one potential candidate: Louisville offensive coordinator Shawn Watson.

Frankly, that is laughable. If Auburn is seriously considering Watson as a candidate, this potential coaching search could be a disaster.

To his credit, Watson has done a nice job with Louisville's offense this season. The Cardinals rank second in the Big East with a scoring average of 34.0 points per game, and third in total offense, gaining 430.1 yards per game. Louisville is 8-0 this season, and the offense is a major reason why. But still, if Auburn hires a Big East offensive coordinator as head coach, Gogue may have a riot on his hands.

It's more likely that this is just a piece of misinformation. What's worrisome is that there could be a purpose behind releasing such an awful name as a potential candidate. If Auburn makes a mediocre hire, fans will think, "Well, at least we didn't hire Watson." Could Gogue be preparing us for a letdown?

Or could Gogue be tipping his hand? As mentioned earlier, many Auburn folks would like to see the Tigers make a run at Strong. Is it purely coincidental that Gogue mentioned someone on Strong's staff, or did he throw out that name because he has Louisville on the mind. There's really no way to tell, but that connection certainly peaks our curiosity.

No one knows for sure, but based on the chatter, it seems likely that Auburn will at least gauge Strong's interest. As for other potential candidates. Despite his denial, the Jimbo Fisher rumors are still persistent, and there is still the question of Jay G. Tate's report that there is an unknown name -- Internet speculation has decided on the St. Louis Rams' Jeff Fisher -- being considered that would be a home run. And of course, Gus Malzahn could be possible. As soon as he took the job at Arkansas State, speculation began that Malzahn would be a candidate at Auburn whenever Chizik left. Would Gogue bring the former offensive coordinator back to the Plains so quickly?

Nothing is certain, but one shouldn't take Watson as a candidate too seriously.