Charlie Strong is in a tough predicament.
I wouldn’t want to be Charlie Strong right now (except maybe on payday). Everything about Strong’s current situation is a shining example of why college coaches make such obscene amounts of money and why not everyone is cut out for the job. He is stuck in a no-win situation and is utterly powerless to do anything about it.
This isn’t just about the Strong to Miami rumors either. On all fronts, he is trapped. The only solutions to his problems lie out of his hands and in the future. All he can do try and ride out the storm as best he can and hope for the best.
I’ve been as critical of Strong as anyone other there. I think he’s deserved a fair share of the criticism that he’s endured this year. Yet, I still feel bad for him and the situation he’s in. Strong is a good man trying to do the right thing and that’s never easy, especially in today’s world.
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The Miami Story
As I said in a previous article, nothing is going to make this go away. Strong can deny all he wants. Mike Perrin and Greg Fenves can publicly support him all they want. Miami can evade all they want. The rumor won’t die, not until the season is over anyway.
At this point, everyone Miami wants to talk to, except Butch Davis, has to focus on their current job. They can’t ask permission to speak with anyone. No interviews are being conducted. So there is nothing for the press to focus on except the Strong rumors and that’s good, easy press. Strong can’t help this. Every time he takes the time to publicly deny, he is just wasting his breath.
Even if it’s true and Strong has his bags packed and one foot out the door, he can’t say it. Even if Texas has decided to cut bait and throw another line, they can’t say it. Not yet. So the rumors continue to swirl and all sides involved have no choice than to play the game.
I’m so sick of reading Strong quotes by now because it’s always the same rote answers. “We didn’t execute. We’re better than what we showed. I want to see the team that played Oklahoma. We’ll get this turned around.”
It’s tired by now. The problem, again, is that Strong is saying all he can. I’m sure that somewhere deep down he wants to howl. He wants to yell and scream and tell everybody to get the hell off of his back. I wouldn’t blame him. If he did that, the narrative would become that Strong was cracking under the pressure. That would only make the Miami rumors worse.
If he begins to single coaches or players out, then he’s throwing them under the bus and he risks losing the respect of his staff and his players and losing the locker room. He’s already been accused of that once already.
If he points a finger at Steve Patterson and the nickel and dime way he ran the Athletic Department, he’s passing the buck and blaming a guy who isn’t even around to defend himself. Nothing looks worse publicly for a coach than blaming everyone else.
Plus, Strong prides himself on being an example to his players. Therefore he has no choice other than take the high road. He has to choke down those urges to lash out, to point fingers and pass blame. He has to stand tall against all of the BS. He has to do it for his players and his program. I’m sure it’s not easy.
The only solution is winning, but again, that is largely out of his hands. He can’t play the games for the team. He can’t make them execute. He can’t make them listen. There’s no Captain America super serum he can inject into his players to make up for physical shortcomings.
At this point, the only winning that will really make a difference won’t happen until next fall. Sure, winning out would help, but it’s unlikely. Upset Baylor? Just look what happened after OU. No, the next chance Strong really has to make a statement is next September against Notre Dame.
Win that and maybe the storm that is swirling around Strong and the Texas program will begin to subside. Lose and we’ll be in for another long season of job security rumors. That’s the unfortunate nature of the business. Sometimes, it’s a no-win game.