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David Leffler
Posts: 10
Takes score: 115
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Strong's blunt demeanor a breath of fresh air

04/28/2014 6:10pm
last edited:05/02/2014 1:25pm

Last Tuesday, Texas Head Coach Charlie Strong sent shockwaves throughout the country when he flat-out told fans, “we will not be in the national championship game." After letting these comments sink in for a week, Longhorn fans should be certain: Texas has its man. 

This may seem odd at first glance, considering Strong is the probably the only coach of a major football program that will come out and say that his team will not compete for a national championship this season. In all other cases, doing so would be seen as waving the white flag. Indeed, many fans around the Lone Star State reacted as such following his comments.

But those who think Strong was giving a concession speech need to get their heads checked. The guy’s exactly what the Longhorns need: a dose of reality. This program had been falling apart the past four years due to a privileged culture induced by high-level recruits with zero work ethic. Although Texas had been able to ride this formula to a couple of Big 12 Championships and a National Championship in 2005, it was clear things needed to be shaken up following the Longhorns’ fourth straight absence from a BCS bowl game.  

For the last several years, it was always the same thing: we’ve got talented players and the best facilities in the country, so why aren’t we winning? The fact of the matter is that while Texas still had one of the most talent-rich rosters in the Big 12 the past four years, its players were not nearly at the level of past Longhorn teams. This relative drop-off in talent exposed much of the coaching fallacies that have plagued this program and prevented it from ever becoming the dynasty it could have been. After all, how did Mack Brown only manage to win two Big 12 Championships considering the talent-laden rosters he had in front of him?

That’s where Strong comes in. As a hard-nosed, no-nonsense kind of guy, he is the antithesis of Brown. Rather than letting players coast by because of their rating on Rivals.com, he’ll make them work for their jobs every single day. Though this strategy seems rather commonplace, it’s the one thing this program has lacked for years. 

The irony of all of this is that because Texas has faltered the past several seasons, there has been a drop off in its recruiting. Gone are the days of Top-Five recruiting classes for the Longhorns, replaced instead by rival Texas A&M as the state’s top dogs. As a result, this team no longer has the luxury of riding elite talent to victory. These players are going to have to earn everything they get, rather than having it handed to them on a silver platter.

Of course, Texas’ recruiting prowess will return the moment Strong is able to turn things around. New Texas Athletic Director Steve Patterson isn’t stupid; he knows that Strong will get the most out of the players he has and that, while he isn’t the recruiter Brown was, this program essentially recruits itself considering its facilities, reputation and location (after all, who would honestly rather be in College Station than Austin?). 

Although Texas fans will have to wait for the days of Top-Five recruiting classes to return, they shouldn’t for a second take for granted Strong’s presence in Austin. Finally, this program has a coach in place that will treat his team like football players rather than royalty.

2 comments

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Kyle Manlove
Posts: 0
Takes score: 8
Picks: 0%
05/02/2014 5:23pm
last edited:05/02/2014 5:40pm
I couldn't agree more - I loved hearing him say that. The beauty of it, too, is that if Ash is healthy the team could be really, really good and the players will be extra motivated to prove him wrong. Under-promise, over-deliver.
Wade Geraci
Posts: 50
Takes score: 2393
Picks: 48.1%
05/12/2014 1:36pm
Still can't believe that no players from Texas were drafted.

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