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Texas Longhorns Twitter Zeitgeist: Charlie Strong Has Some Fun

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It was a tough week for Texas' head coach. But that is all in the past now.

Texas football was fun again.
Texas football was fun again.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

It has been quite the week for Texas fans. After being run off the field by TCU a week ago, the following six days got pretty ugly. Players were sniping at each other in press conferences and over social media, while the more alarmist portions of the fan base were getting pretty antsy about head coach Charlie Strong.

Because it is all about the results, man.

There has been a lot of back and forth on Twitter about the future of Strong at Texas. If I am going to produce a caricature of both sides, I would define them in the following manner. On one side of the argument, you have people who are unhappy that Texas is losing, and want something to be done now. "Something" here means a new head coach. On the other side, you have people who don't think we can yet make an evaluation of Strong, and suspect that he has the program on a good path. I tend to align with the second group.

I think at this point there can be reasonable critiques of Strong as the head coach of Texas. But the reasonable critiques tended to be drowned out by the unreasonable ones. Because the one who shouts loudest is heard the most, and the one who says the craziest things gets noticed. That is how the sports radio, TV talking head, and social media worlds work.

At this point, there are certainly reasonable things to criticize Strong over. Have all of his decisions been optimal? Of course not. There are plenty of non-optimal decisions to discuss, which makes Strong like every other coach in the history of sports.

But many of these non-optimal decisions, in the grand scheme of Texas football, aren't all that important. For example, Strong has made a lot of staff changes in his first season and a half, and perhaps he could have done better with some of those early hires. This is certainly an issue, but I view it as more of a case not doing as well at short term optimization. Some day, if things work out for Strong at Texas, getting those short term optimization decisions right will matter tremendously. But for now, there are more important long term things to get right.

Texas fan frustration with Strong seemed to crest during a segment where he was interviewed on ESPN, which aired Saturday morning not long before the game.

I am not sure what the appropriate level of fire one is supposed to show when seated in a chair during an interview. But I guess "interview fire" is low down on the list of things I value in a football coach.

At one point during the ESPN interview, Strong referred to social media as "the downfall of society," in reference to some of the issues his players have had with Twitter this week. A lot of people on Twitter responded, agreeing with the Texas coach -- I hope I don't have to take too much time pointing out the irony of this.

I guess I don't see the societal harm of social media in general, and Twitter specifically, beyond the fact that it tends to waste a lot of time that could in principle be put towards more productive pursuits. Instead of writing this column, I could instead be building a birdhouse. But I would probably just be sleeping in. If you weren't spending your time live tweeting House Hunters International you would still likely be watching the show.

I also think the next person has a point.

Through all the turbulence of the last week, there have been Charlie Strong supporters out there. I am only going post one of these supportive tweets, but it is a really good one.

Everybody Loves Charlie Strong

But three hours later, it all stopped. There is nothing like a win against Oklahoma to get everyone back in your corner. That and the fisheye effect that occurs when your hand gets too close to a wide angle lens.

The morning after the game, there were thousands of tweets about Charlie Strong. But the next one was my favorite.

I enjoyed this little video because it was rather noticeable to me during the game just how happy Strong looked on the sideline. He has had a rough go of it lately, and it is good to see him have some fun. It doesn't hurt that we were all having the fun with him.

The Final Word