Over the past few seasons, I’ve talked about Coach Mack Brown at UT on several occasions. I’ve never had anything against him personally, just the culture of football in Austin.
As a person, I think Mack is a first class guy. To be as successful in recruiting as he was, he couldn’t be a phony. Eventually, phonies are found out.
Listen to the former players at UT when they talk about Mack. He was a classy individual.
However, my new favorite coach in all of college football is Charlie Strong.
I don’t know that much about what he did at Louisville or anywhere else. The one thing I know about the new Longhorn coach is how he is changing the culture of the UT football program. That’s all I need to know.
Rule No. 1 for Coach Strong is that all players will go to class. Not only will they go to class, but they will sit in one of the front two rows. They will not wear earphones in class nor text. They will sit up and take notes. If a player misses one class, he will run until it hurts.
Miss two classes and the entire position group runs. A third no show to class and the position coach runs.
He has decreed that there will be no earrings in the football building, and that there will be no drugs, no guns, no stealing and women will be treated with respect.
The only people who may live off campus are seniors who meet certain academic standards. The team will live together, eat together, hang out together and suffer together.
In other words, there will be no cliques. They will be a team in every sense of the word.
He went on to say that players will learn that they would rather be on the field than nursing minor injuries. His idea is that there is no time to rebuild; that winning is for now.
The focus of the program will be winning and graduating, and anything extraneous to that will be stamped out and removed. After that, he basically said I’ve talked. Now it’s time to do.
I’ll bet within 15 minutes of that talk, there were phone calls going out to “Sugar Daddies”, alumni and/or academic advisors.
That’s not what many of the blue chippers signed up for. There will be some transfers, and
I’m guessing Charlie won’t care. He is, as they say, separating the wheat from the chaff. You don’t have to have McDonald’s All Americans and Five Star recruits to win. Sure you need talent, but you have to have the right mindset.
Mack Brown always had one of the top recruiting classes in the nation. The past three season’s failures (at least failures for a school like UT) were not from a lack of talent. Was it Coach Brown’s fault? I have no idea. Maybe they label four and five star recruits too early, they commit too early and lose something along the way. Who knows? All I know is it’s refreshing to see someone come in and demand players be accountable both on and off the field.
I have no dog in the hunt. My two degrees read Abilene Christian College, and Stephan F. Austin State University. I have no idea what their football teams do from year to year. I pull for programs that I think are run the right way.
From afar, it appears that Art Briles runs a good clean program at Baylor. I used to think that of Gary Patterson at TCU, but the past couple of seasons have cast serious doubt on that. Having a rooting interest twice removed from A&M, I hope Coach Sumlin runs that type of operation.
When I first heard the University of Texas had hired Charlie Strong from Louisville, I’m sure my first reaction was to yawn. I was prepared to hear a name like Nick Saban, Les Miles or, perhaps a Jon Gruden. I was totally ambivalent to Charlie Strong. Now, I’m in his corner. What I heard from the new Longhorn boss had a familiar ring from 40 or 50 years ago. For former Tiger players who worked under Coach Jim Acree, I’ll bet it was also a slight feeling of déjà vu. I see winning coming back to Darrell Royal Field and soon.