Charlie Strong has the support of key boosters and school officials at a critical point in the season.
Charlie Strong isn’t going anywhere.
ESPN’s Joe Schad reports that Strong has the support of the right people and will remain the head coach at Texas.
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The announcement comes as Texas heads to Dallas to face Oklahoma in the annual Red River Shootout. Strong has been under fire following a 50-7 loss to TCU. The Longhorns trailed 30-0 before the first quarter ended. The loss drops Texas to 1-4, with only one or two fairly winnable games left on the schedule.
Strong is 7-11 after 18 games as head coach.
Now is not the time to make a change. Despite bad losses and a rift between upperclassmen and freshmen that has spilled over into social media, Strong offers Texas fans the best chance at turning this thing around.
It has already started with the 2015 recruiting class – Strong’s first class he actually had a chance to recruit. He brought in impact players like Malik Jefferson, Patrick Vahe, Connor Williams, John Burt and Holton Hill. These five players have jumped ahead of more experienced players and are contributing. Others like Kris Boyd, Davante Davis and DeAndre McNeal are beginning to earn more playing time.
While it is exciting to see the future of the program on the field, we are also witnessing the growing pains every young player experiences. When you have so many of these guys playing the errors seem to come in droves.
Yes this team is 1-4, but it could very well be 3-2. Special teams mistakes alone didn’t cost the Longhorns victories against Cal and Oklahoma State, they just came at the most inopportune time. Life can be cruel like that. Perhaps a veteran-laden team doesn’t make as many mistakes and the results are much different.
And while I agree that Strong should not be fired, he and his coaching staff do need to share part of the blame for what is going on with the program. Strong said in his weekly press conference that Mack Brown is not responsible for where the program sits. The current staff is not getting the most out of every player. Shawn Watson failed to adjust to his player’s strength, instead forcing Tyrone Swoopes and Jerrod Heard to conform to the offense Watson developed. Give Strong credit for recognizing this would not work and making a change in play-calling duties sooner rather than later.
On the defensive side of the ball Vance Bedford is working with a very young group of linebackers and defensive backs. It’s on-the-job training for many of these guys.
Compounding matters is that defensive line coach Brick Haley is not getting the most out of what is arguably the best position group on the team. Hassan Ridgeway, Desmond Jackson and Co. have not gotten the job done up front. Even an experienced secondary cannot cover wide receivers for five and six seconds while the quarterback sits in a clean pocket and waits for his receivers to break free. When the line does get pressure the secondary has been able to make a play on the ball.
Reality is setting in with fans that this team is not very good. The heart-breaking losses to Cal and Oklahoma State on back-to-back weeks has taken the air out of the sails. Things look bleak. Oklahoma players have to be licking their chops at the chance to hand Texas another embarrassing loss.
Despite of all the negativity it is refreshing to see boosters and the administration stand behind Strong. That support goes a long way during a dark time in this school’s storied program.