UT’s Charlie Strong Makes A Strong Case For Himself

The Longhorns' coach is turning doubters into believers

Nov 10, 2015 at 10:25 AM ET

So, is University of Texas football coach Charlie Strong on the hot seat?

After TCU stomped the Longhorns 50-7 in week five and UT was sitting at 1-4, the fan base was restless, and first-to-pile-on pundits such as Stephen A. Smith were calling for Strong’s head. Even the Texas Rangers’ Twitter account blasted out “Fire Charlie. #bye.” (The employee who posted the Tweet was fired within an hour.)

One week later, Texas stunned then-No.14 and arch-rival Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout, and the fire was reduced to a slow burn. Now, after last Saturday’s 59-20 crushing defeat of humble Kansas, UT is at a better standing at 4-5 (3-3 in the Big 12), and year two of the rebuild in Austin proceeds apace.

It used to be the rule of thumb in college football that a new coach had five years to turn things around. Now that’s down to three years, and if Strong can duplicate what he did at his previous job, at Louisville– which is a much tougher place to recruit to than cushy Texas — he will be fine. Strong went 14-12 in his first two years with the Cardinals, 23-3 the last two.

“Cushy Texas” has been his biggest obstacle to date. The Longhorns often get the pick of the litter in one of the most fertile recruiting areas of the country, but a sense of entitlement slowly permeated the program during last four years of the Mack Brown era, resulting in mediocrity that was unacceptable to UT fans. Strong’s mission: Change the culture, and fast. He has a five-year deal, for $5 million per year with Texas, but this is not about the money. Same as at all the big-boy programs, this is about winning — now.