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Charlie Strong ramping up drug testing for Texas Longhorns players

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Mack Brown had basically adopted a "Don't ask, don't tell" policy for drug users on his teams.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

In the past, getting away with using drugs as a Texas Longhorns football player wasn't particularly difficult.

Former head coach Mack Brown administered an average of 104 drug tests per year during the 2010 to 2013 football seasons, according to a report published by the Austin American-Statesman.

In the eight months under new head coach Charlie Strong, there have been 188 drug tests administered, almost double the annual rate under Brown.

The biggest change in philosophy is in the timing. Under Brown, players basically knew when they were going to be tested -- according to the records, Brown typically tested his players during the spring and in mid-October.

Strong, on the other hand, has administered a series of tests, beginning with 104 during a stretch in March that matched the annual rate under Brown.

Basically, any players using marijuana could be reasonably sure about when they needed to get clean, a process that takes a shorter period of time for athletes with faster metabolisms and less body fat (in general) than a random sampling of the population.

For those players interested in harder drugs, there was virtually zero chance of being caught.

After all, Brown didn't even test the whole team at one time -- the annual rate suggests that either some players were never tested or roughly half the team was tested in the spring and the other half during the fall. Either way, the end result was a program culture with little ability to identify or punish players using drugs.

Here's the timeline for tests under Strong:

Date No. of tests
March 19-28 104
April 11 18
April 30 2
May 3 1
July 19 15
August 11 2
August 22 7
August 29 2

As for a timeline on dismissals, fullback Chet Moss and safety Leroy Scott were dismissed before the first round of drug tests, indicating that their dismissals were likely the result of other issues, assuming that the tests that immediately followed were indeed the first.

The round of dismissals prior to the start of fall camp were probably at least in part a result of the round of drug tests on July 19 for at-risk players or previous offenders, as previously reported.

Since the NCAA only tests athletes during championships events, the burden for the rest of the year falls on individual schools. However, the NCAA has recently changed rules that give players four strikes instead of three under previous rules.

So while the NCAA is reducing penalties for the use of marijuana, Strong is increasing testing to make sure that he catches it.