Sunday, October 16, 2016

Did Charlie Strong Save His Job For Another Week?

University of Texas football coach Charlie Strong has been  under fire for his underperforming team. In his third season as head coach, Strong has so far been unable to bring football glory back to Austin. After starting this season 2-3, rumors continue swirl that Strong's time at UT is limited. Will the October 15 win over Iowa State save his job?
A few days after the 49-31 road loss to Oklahoma State, Strong demoted defensive coordinator Vance Bedford, and took over the defense.
"Sometimes you feel like you need to bring new energy into some of these guys and just hoping this will be a good move for them, which it will be," said Strong in an October 3, ESPN story by Max Olson. "I just felt like, at this time right now, it was just a move that needed to be made."
Strong was defensive coordinator at South Carolina and Florida before becoming head coach at the University of Louisville in 2010. His familiarity with running defenses may turn out to be a positive in this situation. If Strong can bring the defense up to par without creating an offensive lapse, it may work out for him and the team.

Unfortunately, his first game running the defense did not go well. While the offense scored 40 points against Oklahoma, Strong's defense gave up 45. After that loss, the wolves were at Strong's door again, ready to go for his throat. Even while Texas Athletic Director Mike Perrin publicly offered support for his coach, it appeared that Strong might not make it to the next game.
With Strong still on the job on October 15, the Longhorns beat Iowa State 27-6 at home. The beleaguered Texas defense allowed only two field goals and handled the Iowa State offense without much difficulty. On the other hand, the Cyclones were 1-5 coming into the game – not exactly a formidable opponent. A win is a win, and a good defensive performance, even against a lesser team, may well bring that "new energy" that Strong mentioned, back to the forefront.
Did the win save Strong's job? For sure – at least for this week. Next week though, could be a different story. Texas goes up against Kansas State on October 22, followed by Baylor on the 29th, and Texas Tech on November 5.  
Last year, Texas beat K-State, but the year before, the Wildcats shut the Longhorns out 23-0. Never an easy opponent, Texas' defense cannot afford to take the game lightly. The same goes for Baylor and Texas Tech – both teams that have dealt disappointing losses to the Longhorns in recent years.
Strong's team looked good in the Iowa State win, however, as mentioned in 'Will Charlie Strong Be Fired?', it looks like his job is safe for a win, and maybe not so much for a loss. While I hope Strong gets a chance for at least a fourth season at Texas, unless he wins out through 2016, he may be out of a job before season's end. Texas legend Earl Campbell said on October 11 of Strong, in a Brian Davis story on Hook ' (Austin American-Statesman):
"Let him stay, leave him alone."
That is excellent advice for those who would have Strong fired. Give him a chance to bring the Longhorns back to what they should be – a powerhouse in college football.
Larry Manch is an author, teacher, guitar player, freelance writer, and columnist. His books include: 'The Toughest Hundred Dollars & Other Rock & Roll Stories', 'A Sports Junkie''The Avery Appointment''Between the Fuzzy Parts'

He also writes about baseball for Climbing Tal's Hill, food and travel on Miles & Meals, and music/guitars on The Backbeat.

He lives in Central Texas with his wife and family.

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