Texas won't fire Charlie Strong in 2015 despite the Longhorns' poor start to the season, writes Mike Finger in Thursday's San Antonio Express-News — and the notion is "nonsense."
It doesn’t matter how many linesmen overreact. It doesn’t matter how many national-TV pundits go crazy and call Strong a "loser," as one did this week. It doesn’t matter how many "fans" write letters to sports writers saying they want UT to keep losing this season so Strong will leave.
Let’s nip that nonsense in the bud. The athletic department that won’t even cough up a measly $600,000 to get an assistant coach out of an embarrassing lawsuit with a Big 12 rival isn’t going to eat the $15.9 million remaining on Strong’s contract to get rid of him after only two years.
The new men in charge at UT — president Greg Fenves and interim athletic director Mike Perrin — are not knee-jerk reactionaries. Both already have preached patience and expressed confidence in Strong, and both are perceptive enough to see the details many miss.
It's also true that Strong has built a foundation to be reasonably optimistic about in Austin, with Jerrod Heard and Malik Jefferson emerging as leaders of the Longhorns on offense and defense despite being freshman, plenty of young talent arrayed around those figureheads, and the team's 1-3 start not being that far removed from a 3-1 mark.
Even a 1-5 record that would match the worst record by a Texas team since 1956 — which seems like a distinct possibility with TCU and Oklahoma up next — won't get Strong dislodged from the big chair, Finger predicts.
The truth is UT has more reason for optimism now than it did when Brown left. The truth is Strong's right when he says the team's improving. And yes, the truth is he eventually needs to start winning if he hopes to make it to the end of his contract.
But if after playing TCU and Oklahoma, he's 1-5? It doesn't mean he was lying.
And it doesn't mean he won't get a chance to prove "close" can turn into something better.
Winning football games would, of course, be the best way for Strong to quiet the seething masses. But the people who truly control his employment seem willing to stave off the masses for at least a good while longer.