Texas Football head coach Charlie Strong speaks with the media about the 2014 signing class:
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.
Watch coach Charlie Strong as he introduces his newly completed Texas coaching staff and answers questions about he’s going to run things:
Love listening to Coach Strong doing the Q&A sessions. His passion and football IQ are clear and contagious. Kids are going to love playing for this guy.
See an overview on the new coaches here if you want to find out who these guys are.
A week into the Charlie Strong era and we’re finally starting to learn what the next coaching staff at Texas will look like. We’ve known the names of the defensive coordinator (Vance Bedford) and linebackers coach (Brian Jean-Mary) for a while now but that’s it. Over the weekend, through a series of tweets and leaks from a team meeting almost the entire staff is now known. Huge questions remain about offensive coordinator, but here’s how the Texas coaching staff looks as of today:
Head coach: Charlie Strong
Offensive coordinator/offensive line: Joe Wickline
In the conversation as the best offensive line coach in college football, Wickline is a guy Mack Brown tried to lure away from Oklahoma State a few years ago but Strong got the job done. Someone Texas fans will love to watch coach on the Longhorn Network, Wickline could mean we finally see a Texas offensive line capable of imposing their will in the trenches. At his introductory press conference Strong confirmed that Wickline would be the team’s offensive coordinator and call plays, something he has not done in the past.
Quarterback: Shawn Watson
A lot of consternation from Longhorn fans when Watson was thought to be the next OC but at the team meeting he was introduced as only the team’s quarterbacks coach. Watson was most recently the offensive coordinator at Louisville with Strong after stints at Colorado and Nebraska.
Running backs: Tommie Robinson
The USC running backs coach is a big hire. Robinson has NFL and college experience and also has a lot of experience in Texas as he spent time at TCU, Oklahoma State, and with the Dallas Cowboys.
Wide receivers: Les Koenning
Mississippi State OC/QB coach who played at Texas as a wide receiver from 1977-1980. Has done stints as an wide receivers coach, QB coach, and offensive coordinator at Texas, TCU, Alabama, Houston, Rice, and in the NFL. Prior to being at Mississippi State, he was the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M under head coach Dennis Franchione from 2003-2007.
Tight ends: Bruce Chambers (?)
A Texas coach since Mack Brown’s first season, Chambers will be on the Texas staff in some fashion. It was originally believed that he would stay on as tight ends coach but recent rumors are that Chambers’ role may transition to recruiting only.
Defensive coordinator: Vance Bedford
A two-time All-Southwest Conference player as Texas defensive back, Bedford is coming home after nearly 30 years as a coach. Bedford was at Florida and Louisville with Strong and will be a “walk around” defensive coordinator and will not be responsible for a specific position.
Defensive line: Chris Rumph
Rumph was hired away from Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama where he coached for the last 3 seasons including 2 national titles. Like all of Coach Strong’s new staff, a great recruiter who should be able to assemble and coach up some great defensive talent.
Linebackers: Brian Luc Jean-Mary
Jean-Mary coached linebackers and was recruiting coordinator and assistant head coach at Louisville under Strong. Jean-Mary, who was a finalist for 2013 Linebackers Coach of the Year award, was previously at Georgia Tech and North Alabama.
Secondary: Chris Vaughn
Vaughn comes from Memphis where he coached cornerbacks. He previously served on Houston Nutt’s staffs at Arkansas and Ole Miss. Vaughn will also reportedly be in charge of the Texas special teams units.
Stength and conditioning: Pat Moorer
Maybe the most exciting change, Moorer has a great reputation and appears to be a coach who will be able to change Texas players’ attitudes in the weight room and on the field. Even injured players have to keep working in “The Pit” until they’re ready to get back on the field.
Definitely an impressive staff assembled with recruiting in mind. The biggest question marks are offensive coordinator and in the secondary with Texas legend Duane Akina departing. But if Wickline and Rumph can remake the trenches on both sides of the ball we’ll start to see a difference pretty quickly.
Stay tuned for updates as the last couple of spots are filled and things are made official.
Added Les Koenning as WR coach. (1/15 8:44am)ficial.
Added note about Wickline being OC and playcaller. (1/16 9:49am)
New Texas head coach Charlie Strong had his first press conference today where he was introduced to Texas fans by school president Bill Powers and AD Steve Patterson. Coach Strong spoke for a bit about Texas tradition, his time at Louisville, and his plans for getting Texas Football back on track.
Watch the full video of Coach Strong’s press conference:
Really enjoyed listening to him speak about football and his philosophy on building a program. Funny and genuine. Said all the right things and sounded like he meant them. Also great to see his respect for Darrell Royal in there too.
Based off his jokes at the expense of the recruiting sites, I’m guessing that a lot of the people claiming he isn’t good with media are media members he didn’t glad hand enough. Despite some Internet blathering, he appeared to be a guy who will be as good with the media and big money donors as he wants to be.
And watching Twitter reactions I’m not the only one who is excited about Coach Strong’s arrival, it sounds like he is already firing up current, future, and past Longhorn players:
— Aaron Williams (@ajwilliams23) January 6, 2014
Watching the Coach Strong press conference and can't help but to get excited about the Future of the Longhorn Program. #GoHorns
— Kenny Dwayne Vaccaro (@KennyVaccaro4) January 6, 2014
Isn’t it awesome to be excited about Texas Football again? Welcome to the Forty Acres Coach Strong.