Strong is Good Fit for Texas
Charlie Strong is a good pick to become the next football coach at Texas. No, he’s not Nick Saban but there is only one man who’s won 3 national championships in the past 5 years and the fact that he doesn’t want to leave Alabama shouldn’t be seen as a slight to Texas. Truth is, it would have been shocking if he did leave Bama. Strong may not have the skins on the wall that Saban has but he’s also on the way up in his career and not at the tail end. The way Texas should see it, and Longhorn fans, is that they’re getting a great coach at the beginning of his head coaching career–Louisville was his first head coaching job–and not getting someone who they hope can work his magic in the final 6 or 7 years of his career.
Strong is known as a top recruiter, like Mack Brown, but also a very good game day coach who can make adjustments during games if things aren’t going well (not something Brown was credited with having). Strong was the defensive coordinator at Florida during the Urban Meyer/Tim Tebow championship run, and that should be very encouraging to Texas athletic director Steve Patterson and Horns fans. The Big 12 has a well earned reputation for offense, and Strong should add to that reputation. You just have to look at his tenure at Louisville with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to see that Strong knows how to move the football, but if he can elevate the Longhorns of the other side of the ball as well, Texas shouldn’t miss a beat in the Big 12 and move beyond where they’ve been recently.
And let’s give Mack some credit on his way to a lifetime of golf, as he was one only victory away (Baylor) from winning the Big 12 title again this season. The cupboard isn’t exactly bare in Austin. That is exactly how Patterson was hoping to phase in a new era in UT football. It’s never good to wait until the program is at the bottom to start rebuilding. All Texas should have to do is change the name plate on the head coaches parking space and keep rolling along. Strong won a Sugar Bowl last year and won 12 games this season at a school dominated by Rick Pitino and basketball. Just think what he can do at a football school with unlimited funds and alumni support.
People will make something out of the fact that Strong is the first black coach of any men’s program at Texas, and while that is notable, Patterson wasn’t looking to break any barriers, he was looking to find the best man for the job. He just happened to be black. Mack Brown’s skin color never seemed to hurt him in recruiting and I assume that high school players will either sign with Texas or not, based on the right criteria, not the coaches ethnic background.
It’s a new era in Austin and a very exciting time for the Horns football program. Brown had a terrific 16 year run and the fans and administration at Texas can only hope that this choice is a successful as the last one.