Charlie Strong: Texas will not be in National Championship Game

Charlie Strong Texas Hook 'em

Charlie Strong has made it no secret that he is looking to change the culture surrounding the Texas football program. The former Louisville coach believes that the success the Longhorns had five years ago has led to complacency and entitlement. Strong is also looking to temper expectations.

“We have everything available, and I don’t know why we can’t be successful,” Strong said Monday, via Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman. “There’s no reason for us not to be. Now, I can’t tell you how soon it’s going to be. Don’t hold me to that. Don’t say, ‘Ooh, coach said next year we’ll be in the national…’ We will not be in the national championship game.”

Texas fans are not going to want to hear that, but it is probably the truth. The Longhorns are coming off an 8-5 season that ended with a loss in the Alamo Bowl. They are a combined 30-21 since losing in the National Championship Game back in 2009.

“A lot of our guys, they feel entitled and they get a little complacent because of where we are,” Strong added. “So then as a coaching staff, that’s what we have to be so conscious of when the guys feel they are a little better than what they are.”

This is all part of Strong’s overall approach. We learned last month that he won’t even allow his players to flash the hook ‘em Horns sign until they earn the right to do so. Strong is clearly concerned about his team getting overconfident. Saying Texas will not be in the National Championship Game is another way for him to knock his players down a peg while also being realistic.

H/T Dallas Morning News

Charlie Strong won’t let Texas players flash hook ‘em Horns sign yet

Charlie Strong Texas Hook 'em

Just four short years ago, Texas was competing for a BCS National Championship behind Heisman Trophy candidate Colt McCoy. Since that game, the Longhorns have compiled a record of 30-17, which is nothing to brag about for a team that was once considered a national powerhouse. Charlie Strong hopes to bring a winning tradition back to Austin.

In order to do so, Strong is trying to change the culture that Mack Brown left behind. According to ESPN.com’s Max Olson, that includes everything from making players walk to practice to not allowing them to throw up the “hook ‘em Horns” hand gesture.

“They’ll get it back one of these days,” Strong said.

Strong was a Longhorn for a matter of hours before he was already throwing up the “hook ‘em Horns” at his introductory press conference. In fact, same of his former Louisville players criticized him and called him fake because of it. The Horns gesture is one of the first things recruits do when they decide to play ball at Texas, but apparently Strong feels it needs to be earned.

Strong also makes players take the half-mile trek from their dorms to the practice facility on foot. They used to be able to catch a bus. He has put an open-door policy into effect and is often spotted chatting football with several players at a time inside his office.

Culture change is one thing, but I’m not sure how I would feel about being told to not use the “hook ‘em Horns” gesture. In my opinion, starting positions are something a player has to earn. Taking pride in your school is not.

Louisville CB Andrew Johnson on Charlie Strong: ‘He ain’t real’

Charlie Strong Texas Hook 'em

Charlie Strong was introduced to the media by the University of Texas on Monday, and at least one of his former players was not amused.

Louisville junior cornerback Andrew Johnson tweeted his thoughts upon watching his former coach on national TV:

Andrew Johnson tweet

Johnson also called Strong “fake” in response to another person’s tweet:

What’s Johnson’s big beef? He says Strong lied to his Louisville players:

We see this happen often and it’s never easy. A coach who leaves one school for a better job leaves behind an entire program that he helped build. There are always going to be hurt feelings, but most people will probably give Strong a break and realize how this was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

H/T Mark Ennis

Charlie Strong rides into town ‘Blazing Saddles’ style in great GIF

Charlie Strong Blazing SaddlesLSU Freek has done it again. In response to Charlie Strong reportedly being hired as the head coach at Texas, Freek created a hilarious GIF of Strong riding into town like the sheriff in the great scene from “Blazing Saddles.” The town of Texas fans were expecting Jim Harbaugh, yet somehow they ended up with Strong.

Excellent work, once again, Freek.

This is pretty good, but Freek’s Andy Reid as Kool-Aid man is still my favorite from him in recent months.

And here’s the original clip from “Blazing Saddles” in case you’ve never seen the movie:

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Charlie Strong reportedly will be next Texas coach

Charlie Strong

Charlie Strong will be the next football coach at Texas, according to a report.

Bobby Burton of Horns247 reported the news on Friday night.

Strong interviewed with Texas AD Steve Patterson during the week and has been considered one of the top candidates for the job since Mack Brown was pushed out. The Longhorns were also reportedly considering Baylor head coach Art Briles for the position. Texas was also interested in UCLA’s Jim Mora, but he turned them down.

Strong just completed his fourth season as head coach of Louisville’s football team. He went 7-6 in his first two seasons, but then turned in an 11-2 campaign in 2012 and went 12-1 this season with Teddy Bridgewater leading his club.

Strong was a defensive assistant under Ron Zook at Florida and retained by Urban Meyer. He gained most of his notoriety serving as a defensive coordinator under Meyer.

At this point, Strong has not been formally announced as the next Texas head coach, but reports say he plans to meet with Louisville reps first to let them know he was offered the job and that he will accept it.

Charlie Strong, Louisville stick it to David Pollack with upset win over Florida

Charlie-Strong-LouisvilleLouisville came to play against Florida in the Sugar Bowl on Wednesday night, and that was evident from the first play of the game from scrimmage. Cornerback Terrell Floyd intercepted a pass from Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel and returned it for a touchdown to start the game, and the Cardinals never looked back on their way to a stunning 33-23 victory.

Hardly anyone gave Louisville a chance against the No. 3-ranked Gators — including myself. One analyst who was particularly outspoken in bashing the Cardinals was ESPN’s David Pollack, who said before the game that he expected Florida to come away with a 15-point win that actually felt like 30. According to Louisville head coach Charlie Strong, Pollack’s prediction served as a major motivator.

“{ESPN analyst David] Pollack got us fired up earlier today, when he said it was going to be a 15-point game in their favor and it was gonna feel like a 30-point game,” Strong said after the game, via CBSSports.com. “And then he said our defense hasn’t played well all year. So this is for him.”

In his defense, Pollack was quick to admit how wrong he was after the game:

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Louisville Players Were Unprepared for Pitt Because They Were Too Focused on Video Game Call of Duty

Louisville lost at home to Pitt Saturday 21-14, and coach Charlie Strong believes his players were not properly focused on the game because they were too concerned with the new video game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was released last Tuesday and reportedly generated over $400 million in sales in its first 24 hours.

Strong had to pull his players off the field during pregame warmups to help their focus. He also described his players as not very mature after the game.

During his Monday press conference, Strong continued to rant about the video game. The Courier-Journal said Strong believed “his players seemed to be more enthused about playing Call to Duty than preparing for Pittsburgh.”

Before we start going off on the players, put yourself in their position. These are college boys aged 18-22. They like video games, hanging out, and partying. They’re not professionals, and some of them are irresponsible. They’re kids.

When I was in college, I made some irresponsible decisions too. My roommate and I once went on a 36-hour Madden bender freshman year. They may have used poor judgment, but how many of us can say we haven’t done the same thing?

Chest bump to Deadspin