New Texas practice intensity starts with coaching staff

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

How the Longhorns are becoming Texas Strong in practice.

There's a culture change happening on the 40 Acres with new Texas Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong and it's a change apparent from Strong's comments and from the video coming out of practice.

Last spring, when then head coach Mack Brown was talking about contending for a BCS bowl and winning the Big 12 in a make-or-break season for the entire staff, this is what circle drills in practice looked like:

What's noticeable about this drill?

There's little energy from the coaching staff as the team stands in a wide circle around the participants. The whistle often blows before either combatant ends up on the turf. The congratulations on the "victories" is limited, from staff and players.

In sum, the intensity level is low.

Now, check out what a circle drill looks like this spring:

The microphone is closer to the field and the camera down in the circle instead of hovering above it, the different perspective intensifying the action.

The heightened intensity isn't stemming greatly from the players either -- notice that the coaches and the support staff are the ones crowding the finish to the ground, celebrating their side.

The players are driving harder, striking at the clutch and exploding through their lower body.

The reps end on the turf.

When cornerback Bryson Echols and Jake Oliver clinch and battle, the rep ends with the entire team closed around them in a bouncing mass of bodies and shrill, repeated whistles from the coaches.

Comparatively, the energy in last spring's drill and this spring's drill is 5 to 9, 6 to 10. Light years apart.

Credit the new video staff for a better perspective and a better cut, but even if that's the extent of the differences, it's important one in the sense that these videos are a recruiting tool. And the latter excels much more in that regard, if nothing else.

But if this intensity and toughness was lip service before, it's so much easier to believe in the widespread implantation of the new attitude.

The type of attitude that causes Strong to stop practice when the players are stretching to send them back and start over. He described it as a sense about his team's readiness to practice and compete and the evident thing about Strong is that he's entirely invested in knowing and feeling the subtle mood changes with his team, then demanding a high level of energy at every turn.

After all, the video tells the tale.

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