Coach Charlie Strong and his Texas Longhorns spent the day talking to the media about their upcoming contest with the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday. And while players and coaches had plenty to discuss, a photo taken by a local sports anchor from Razorback Nation caused quite a stir. Here are the Notes and Quotes from the Texas Bowl festivities in Houston as the teams prepare for Monday night.
“I think that anytime you walk into a program you never as a head football coach, or even as a coach period, want to dismiss any player because the thing you ought to do is you got to make sure young men develop and they go to school and come to school to get an education, and have a chance to play outstanding football. Sometimes, decisions have to be made. I tell the players all the time, the only thing I can do is just enforce the decision you just made. I’m just making sure this doesn’t continue on within our program.” – Charlie Strong, on how tough it was to dismiss players
“Well, you look at, it’s going to be a spring board. You’d like to go into the offseason in the right frame of mind and understand you can continue to work and just build off of that win. When you look at both of our programs, we’re nowhere near where we want to be. We still know we have some work to do, but to win would be good.” – Strong, on the importance of the game
“When you take over a team, and you look at the players that they have, I was able to recruit Hicks when he was in Cincinnati and tried to get him to come to Florida. He ended up going to Texas on me and then I end up coming and being his head football coach. You look at Quandre, last year we had a conversation and we had a good sit-down. We talked about just what he wanted to go try and get accomplished. When you have two players like that, then you know you have a shoulder that you can lean on because whenever you take over a program you really don’t know the guys. You try to find someone you can just go to and say this is what I need you to do for the team. I need this message to go within the team. I need you guys to carry this message for me. Those two players have been outstanding. It’s been good they’ve played the way they’ve played this season. I’m so happy they’ve had the success that they’ve had.” – Strong, on seniors, Quandre Diggs and Jordan Hicks
“Oh yeah, we’re always clicking. When we get the ball in my hands and he’s feeding me, it feels good, we get the offense going and get everyone else involved. Everything gets flowing and everything is going good.” – John Harris, on his connection with QB Tyrone Swoopes
“I think it was the right decision no doubt. He’s a great man and he’s done a lot for the university already. People believe in those core values and that’s something I believe in.” – Quandre Diggs, on if Charlie Strong was the right person for the job
“I think it’s a big note, especially for these young guys, and I think it’s even bigger for Tyrone. Just to get momentum going into the offseason and you start off with a winning program, it just gets you in a jump start to next season. Last year we finished on a losing note and it wasn’t a good taste in our mouth. We had to wait a whole year to get another win. So I think winning this game would be a good jump start for Coach Strong going into next year, especially with those recruits coming in.” – Harris, on finishing with a winning mark
“It’s tough because losing someone like Coach [Mack] Brown especially in my fifth year, I understood him, he understood me. Everybody knew Coach Brown. He was the godfather of Texas. He was the man and to have someone like Coach Strong just step in and to have ties with him. But at the same time if you don’t have ties with Coach Strong, the personality he brings is very contagious and he’s done a great job getting on board and sharing that personality throughout this team and we’ve had a lot of fun. That’s really been the big thing. The players are having fun with him. They love his style, his mentality and his value set. They really respect him as a coach.” – Jordan Hicks, on being recruited by Strong while at Florida and previous relationships
“A lot. It’s hard to sit here and tell you one specific thing. I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve been through quite a bit and I’ve learned to persevere. You always know you are a strong person, but until you have been through it there is no way to tell. I’ve been through the test and I think a lot of these guys have. That’s what is awesome about this team, that you get guys from all different backgrounds, all different types of adversities throughout their lives before they got here.” – Hicks, on what he’ll take away from his time at Texas
“It’s been an unbelievable experience. It really has. Coach Strong is a very strong-willed person and if you are not doing something to better your life, he’ll let you know it. He’s going to help you make sure that you are bettering your life. Him kicking people off the team, they made that decision themselves. He just had to enforce it. We all tried to help. At the end of the day, it was their decision. But under the circumstances, just the way he’s handled himself and this team has been absolutely unbelievable.” – Hicks, on Strong at Texas
“I think it’s a little more old school and old school is a good school.” – Bert Bielema, on the Texas-Arkansas rivalry compared to SEC rivalries
Strong said senior WR Jaxon Shipley (Hamstring) will be ready and play. Shipley last played in Stillwater during UT’s win over Oklahoma State. He was unavailable for the home finale in a loss to TCU.
Strong compared the commitment of 2015 5-star LB Malik Jefferson to Texas to when Florida signed Tim Tebow back in his Gator days. Hefty praise, coach. Large.
BIELEMA AND ‘HORNS DOWN’
Arkansas coach Bert Bielema took a photo with Strong at the end of their press conference. It appears that he was flashing the ‘horns down’ hand signal. You be the judge.