Accountability is tough to measure. It is tougher to measure when we live in a society of folks that preach accountability but never want to be held accountable.
I write on accountability with the mindset that I think it is ludicrous that anyone is questioning Charlie Strong being the head football coach at Texas.
There are a lot of people accountable for where the Texas program is right now.
Where is right now? Right now is 1 – 3 for Texas and sickened with the reality that it could be just as possible that Texas could be 3 – 1 and on the cusp of being a ranked team.
Where does the accountability go?
Regardless of what he says during a television broadcast, Charlie Strong is still cleaning up his mess in many ways. While it was not quite the Exxon Valdez, the ripple effect and residue are still in the program right now. There is a reason why the best players and the leaders, referred to by team members, are freshmen in Strong’s first true recruiting class.
Not only was there a lack of talent evaluation, position holes and lack of depth because of recruiting philosophy, there is also the mentality question. Strong is attempting to change the mentality of a group of young men that probably have a competitive mentality as opposed to a championship level mentality.
Everyone was surprised when the lone holdover from the Mack Brown staff was TE coach Bruce Chambers. He brought in a former Longhorn in WR coach Les Koenning that did not work out. Chambers and Koenning were relieved of duty after less than a year on the job.
Shawn Watson was brought in to be the offensive coordinator and QB coach and while the position did not go to plan with missing out on a transfer in Max Wittek and David Ash going down in game one of 2014, they never adjusted and were never nimble. Football is just like anything in life and the military saying of ‘No plan survives the battlefield’ applies.
Joe Wickline got Carte Blanche and even a disproportionate/adjusting amount of scholarships and signed JUCO offensive linemen Brandon Hodges and Tristan Nickelson in the class of 2015 along with the high school recruits. The need was great with the defections, dismissals, and transfers. Obviously we do not know what happened but neither have made any impact and when Kent Perkins went down against Oklahoma State, Nickelson ran on the field and was quickly and replaced with former defensive lineman Marcus Hutchins.
In the end everything sits on the desk of Strong. He could have watched film and made any number of five phone calls before he took the Texas job and could have had a fairly clear assessment of what he was coming following Brown.
He hired the assistant coaches. He believed and bought the advice of Watson not only about recruiting quarterbacks but on not recruiting more experience and banking his modified west-coast offense on Tyrone Swoopes and Jerrod Heard.
The ownership of that goes to Charlie. The referendum will always be on Charlie on the whole.
Obviously you can look back at mistakes in the Oklahoma State game and say that it cannot all be on the officials and that would be true.
There is a lazy and easy vantage point that says the job is too big for Strong and nothing could be further from the truth. His impact has been immediate and apparent.
He came into a defense that was ranked 69th in the country in 2014 and got the defense to 25th in 2015. He had four players off the defense drafted and could have four freshmen starting on defense when they head to TCU this week.
Couple that with the four freshmen starting on offense and you have a dynamic set of young people as the core for this team moving forward. Holding someone accountable starts with isolating what they can be held accountable for and moving from there.
Strong’s job is not in trouble at Texas and it shouldn’t be. He has a lot of work to do and as much as you want to respect the seniors in 2015, 2016 and 2017 is when you can ultimately take a full evaluation of Strong.
They might be really good by then.
Stay the course.