From CBS Sports' Brett McMurphy:
Louisville assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Mike Sanford is no longer with the program and has been replaced as offensive coordinator by quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson, CBSSports.com has learned.
Sanford, 56, did not make the trip to Chapel Hill, N.C., for Saturday’s game at North Carolina. Sanford was in his second season with the Cardinals after five seasons as head coach at UNLV. He was 16-43 with the Runnin’ Rebels from 2005-09. He also was previously offensive coordinator at Utah and Stanford.
Watson came to Louisville before this season from Nebraska. Watson will take over the offensive coordinator duties Saturday against UNC and for the rest of the season.
Louisville (2-2) was averaging 18.7 points per game under Sanford, ranking last in the Big East and 105th out of 120 FBS schools in scoring offense. The Cardinals also were 86th nationally in total offense, averaging 359.7 yards per game.
Mike Sanford is a nice man. It sucks to see someone lose their job and I'm a little uncomfortable throwing a party because of it and wishing bad things upon anyone's career. With that out of the way, congratulations Shawn Watson and godspeed, Mike Sanford. We'll always have that near comeback win at Oregon State, bro.
After witnessing Sanford's tumultuous five year UNLV head coaching stint firsthand (and after seeing this video of Sanford a few years ago), I know I'm not the only one who was bearish on him joining Louisville's staff. While I'm a little biased, I don't think I'm the only fan who's applauding this move, either. Many fans wanted to see a change after watching Louisville average 18 points against Murray State, FIU, Kentucky and Marshall.
I think it's plausible to suggest that whatever rift developed between Sanford and the coaching staff came to a boil during and after the Marshall game, leading to an overheated Charlie Strong in the post-game presser. Let's agree not to get overheated if Louisville continues to average 18 points at North Carolina this weekend and at Cincinnati the next. Those are two very capable defenses. It will be a sizable step up in competition for the offense, especially the offensive line. Let's do freak out if somehow UofL upsets the Tar Heels and Bearcats on the road. That won't happen. But if it does, you know what to do.
The Shawn Watson offensive coordinator era begins now.