The Texas Longhorns have been one of the most disappointing teams in college football over the past few seasons. What was an NFL factory with unparalleled resources has turned into a good, but not great Big 12 program without producing the usual number of professional stars.
It’s easy to point the finger at Mack Brown, and a big part of the losing has been his inability to recruit the right quarterbacks ever since Colt McCoy graduated. Although Texas can’t get precisely everyone they want, Brown missed out on Texas natives such as Andrew Luck, Christian Ponder, Matt Stafford, Andy Dalton and Robert Griffin, III, among others at quarterback.
Potential NFL Draft prospects from Texas have been getting a bad name in the eyes of NFL evaluators.
“They (prospects from UT) don’t seem to work as hard, they’ve been catered to and they’re a little soft,” an NFL evaluator told me back in January.
When the Longhorns job came open after the “mutual” parting of ways with Mack Brown, it was clearly one of the top open jobs in college football, if not the top job in college football. After shooting for the stars with NFL types such as Jim Harbaugh, Texas landed on former Louisville head coach Charlie Strong, who some around Austin feel might not be the right fit for the program.
“Well, the main thing, what’s really key — you can’t look at any job any different than anywhere else you’ve been,” Strong said of his new gig.
Strong made some headlines as he stated that the Longhorns would not win a national championship in 2014. For a school who believes that they have the chops to compete every year this was a chilling cold dose of the reality that’s stared them in the face ever since 2010.
The former Louisville head coach and Florida Gators defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer focuses more on the process rather than the result.
“I’ve been a part of two national championships,” Strong said. “We never talked about going and winning a national championship. Because you know what happens. One day you wake up, you’re the national champion. It’s all about our players going out, competing each and every day.”
Part of Strong’s mantra is discipline and he’s trying to change the culture at Texas. Just this week the new Longhorns coach dismissed senior running back Joe Bergeron, a move which many around the program feel was a surprise.
In total, Strong has parted ways with seven players since he’s arrived in Austin, including five players in two days.
“Anything you do, you have to work for it,” Strong said. “I want them to understand that. We’ve got to earn respect.”
“He didn’t sit us in a room and beat toughness into us,” Longhorns junior defensive end Cedric Reed said. “It’s more about discipline.”
Strong knows that unless his entire team buys into what he’s selling they simply aren’t going to have the type of success that they want to have. The old ways of the proverbial inmates running the asylum under Mack Brown’s watch wasn’t working in recent years and he is hellbent on changing that.