Now that Coach Charlie Strong has his staff put together. What changes will Coach Strong implement on the 40 acres? I wonder if the first meeting with his team went something like this:
Coach Strong has shown that he wants to change the culture of this football team. I would like to offer up a few changes for the program. I believe the culture has definitely changed simply by the way that AD Steve Patterson went about hiring his first football coach. Here are my thoughts:
Please get rid of those ugly practice jerseys. This was a lame attempt to give the players some sort of boost with an alternative jersey. Because the practices are on LHN, sew a sponsor patch above the chest on the jersey to help raise even more funds. Paying players soon will be a reality. The University needs to leverage itself in order to bring in more money.
Let all the coaches influence all the kids. The former staff was only allowed to coach their own position players. All the players need to know that everyone including all the coaches are pulling in one direction to achieve the team’s goals. Coach Strong said the goals are simple: Graduate, Championships and Manhood in that order.
It is time to surprise the players with alternative uniforms for special games. This past year the coaching staff was going to honor the ’63 championship team by wearing the player’s number on the helmet for a game. The captains of the team were desperate to have something new so they voted to leave it on all year. The players want something different and incoming high school recruits are considering uniforms when they look at all of their scholarship offers. I know the old guard will hate this, but the fans are not playing one down on the field. Here are the best and worst offerings because change for the sake of change with regards to uniforms will not due. Give the players something that they can be proud to show off to the fans and their families.
Please change the festivities of Senior Day. Watching the head coach congratulate the players on the Godzillatron as they maneuver around the masses to find their family in the end zone is frustrating. Have the kids run to mid field in front of the entire fan base and meet them at the 50 yard line. The parents can be standing along the sidelines for everyone to see. High schools do a better job than the University to honor those that have stayed all four years. Make the event special in order for players to have one more thing to consider before leaving early for the draft.
Do not be that coach that says I need to look at the game film in order to answer the media’s questions. Use that time to answer the question bluntly so that the team sees you as a no-nonsense leader. Do not give the microphone to the assistant coaches as a CEO would and lose the opportunity to make a point. You are the face of the program and use this time to send a message and challenge your players.
We all know that the big money donors are important to a football program. You do not have to be a politician with all the old big money donors because you can never satisfy all of them. Shake their hands for a photo and give them a signed football to give to their kids. You do not need to hire one of them to be your lawyer. We all know that if the coaches are obligated to the kids and the players are focused on playing for their teammates and their coaching staff then the University and the big time donors will see the results they want on the field.
I am not advocating getting rid of all the traditions of the past. The University of Texas has a tremendous legacy that every coach, player and fan needs to respect and protect. But changes are sweeping across every college football program and we do not need to be left behind. A culture of toughness has already been set forth by Coach Strong. Let’s give the coach and his staff the support they need amid all of these changes and enjoy the journey.