Football

Strong Stance and 2016

Charlie Strong at the Spring game. (Will Gallagher/IT)
Charlie Strong at the Spring game. (Will Gallagher/IT)

The Sports Illustrated June 6, 2016 magazine has the Baylor collapse in full detail and I don’t believe it will be finished until the NCAA gets involved.

Coach Art Briles should have stepped up after Tevin Elliott assaulted a young lady and made a clear statement to his football team about the consequences for such BS. If he did, they didn’t believe him because in 2013 DE Shawn Oakman was accused of assaulting his girlfriend. Then Briles allowed Ukwachu to transfer from Boise State where he had been dismissed from the school because of sexual assault problems, allegedly. Those were only a few of the problems in Waco.

Now, how do you like Charlie Strong at Texas and his clear-cut stance forward the conduct of the Longhorn football players? Those parents who helped their son make the decision to attend the University of Texas have no doubts about what will be demanded of their son as far as his conduct while in Austin as a member of the Longhorn football team.

If you haven’t noticed, many of the early magazines are already on the newsstands about College Football for 2016.

Don’t bother with the Athlon 2016 Preview of the Big 12. They picked OU’s Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine as the top running backs in the conference. Obviously they didn’t see D’Onta Foreman’s 81-yard run late in the game against OU or Chris Warren’s 276 against Tech, and punishing Baylor defenders in the upset at McLane. The magazine is up-front about the pressure on Strong and the “dilemma” at the Longhorn QB position. In their view since Notre Dame has two proven QB’s in Malik Zaire and Deshone Kizer, that is enough to bring them in with a 10-2 record at season’s end. This is despite the fact that the Irish lost their go-to receiver Will Fuller and needs to replace three offensive line starters and key players on defense like linebacker Jaylon Smith. Michigan State in South Bend is the key game for Notre Dame and the Irish according to Athlon Sports. We will see…They pick the Longhorns 7th in the Big 12 edging out Iowa State, Kansas State, and Kansas. I’m not buying that.

I prefer the Sporting News College football preview. Of course neither magazine could foresee the earthquake at Baylor and predict nothing but high football fortunes for the Bears. We really wont know about that football team until October 1st when they play Oklahoma State. The Bears should beat Rice, SMU, and Northwestern State – maybe.

The assessment of the Longhorns was right on and even listed Shane Buechele as the Horns’ No. 2 QB. That will last possibly one series when Texas plays ND, if that. He’s the starter, mark it down.

The fact that OC Sterlin Gilbert made his system work at Eastern Illinois, Bowling Green, and Tulsa is noted by the magazine. It isn’t Gilbert’s first rodeo and he has much more talent to work with than his other coaching stops.

Only 12 players from Mack Brown’s era were with the Texas team in Spring practice so this Longhorn team will really have the Strong stamp on it.

They even mentioned DE Charles Omenihu in their article and to me he was the defensive standout of the Texas Spring game. At 6-foot-5, 262 pounds, this sophomore will be fun to watch.

Malik Jefferson with Strong and Jean-Mary. (Will Gallagher/IT)
Malik Jefferson with Strong and Jean-Mary. (Will Gallagher/IT)

Malik Jefferson and Omenihu were, as we know, very active in the success of the Texas recruiting, which in the Sporting News was the best signing day of any team in the nation. It was a finish for the ages.

It’s a long time before September 4th in Austin, but it sure is fun to think about.

I remember those summers waiting to get back to Austin. In 1960 we opened with Nebraska, in 1961 against Cal, and in 1962 against the Oregon Ducks and their great running back Mel Renfro.

Let’s hope our Longhorns get a hot night in Austin against the Fighting Irish. We were able to comeback from a 13-3 halftime deficit with Oregon because of the Austin heat and the pep talks from Coach Royal at halftime.

No doubt the Longhorns will be the underdogs against Notre Dame but with the new blood coming in on the defensive line, new speed available in the secondary, and forcing the Irish front defense to stop the Foreman-Warren rushing attack behind an improved Longhorn offensive line, it should be a huge difference from the blowout loss last year in South Bend.

For sure this time the Irish will see a real Big 12 offensive attack with wide receivers spreading the field.

No doubt the work done this summer by the Texas strength coaches and the player-led football workouts are key.

Aren’t we lucky to have Coach Strong? You bet.