Charlie Strong was the main attraction at Big 12 Media Days on Tuesday afternoon and he spent part of his conversations with the media addressing his earlier quotes about Texas not playing for a championship in his first season with the Longhorns.
Strong has recently taken over as the successor to Mack Brown who stepped down after a largely-successful 16-year run as the head coach of one of college football’s most successful and storied programs when he made those comments about the steps necessary to take in order to once again compete for Big 12 and national titles.
He clarified those comments on Tuesday.
“I think at that time, we were in Phase 2,” Strong said. “I break our program into five phases. The first phase is January when guys come in, they go to work right away, it’s about building and reshaping their bodies. Phase 2 is spring practice. Now we get to work on fundamentals and technique and just watch guys go execute. We put the plan in, and watch them execute the plan.
“We had just completed Phase 2. I said, ‘After looking at Phase 2 we’re going to compete for a championship, after looking at Phase 2. We had a lot of work to do. If you think about it, we were not a healthy football team at that time.
At that time running back Johnathan Gray was recovering from a ruptured Achilles suffered in November and quarterback David Ash was a giant question mark heading into the season after playing in only three games last year and none since Week 4.
Strong will be expected to win immediately in Austin and there won’t be a grace period because this is his first season on the job. His predecessor went 9-3 with a 6-2 record in the Big 12, including a 34-2 trouncing over rival Oklahoma and a Cotton Bowl win over Mississippi State.
Brown went 8-5 (7-2) in his final season at Texas so anything less than nine wins will not be enough, and even that may not be enough to satisfy the fans on The 40 Acres who are hungry to get back to top of the Big 12 standings and take their place back as one of football’s elite.
They may not be as bad as they used to be, but they aren’t as good as they used to be either.
Strong hopes to get them back to that status.