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Tony Dungy to Texas players: Talent "not the most important thing"

The Super Bowl-winning former NFL coach and player shared his experiences with the Longhorns football team this week.

While in Austin for a charity event, former NFL head coach Tony Dungy stopped by campus to speak with the Texas Longhorns football team on Monday.

Dungy has ties to the Texas program because he coached defensive coordinator Vance Bedford during the former Texas cornerback's one year in the NFL and was in the state of Florida with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when head coach Charlie Strong coached with the Gators.

According to Dungy, he and Strong have similar ideas about defensive philosophy and "how to build people."

In sharing his experiences winning Super Bowls as a player with the Pittsburgh Steelers and as a head coach with the Indianapolis Colts, Dungy emphasized that it takes more than talent to win at the highest levels.

"I'll tell you one thing I learned as a player and as a coach -- you don't win these with talent," Dungy said, holding up the rings he won. "Talent is a part of it, but talent isn't all of it."

Dungy then recounted the phrase that Chuck Knoll, his head coach for the Steelers, used to share with his team.

"Champions don't do extraordinary things, champions do the ordinary things better than anyone else," he said.

"Talent is important, but it's not the most important thing," Dungy continued. "Everybody in the country has talent. There are players in rooms like this all around the country who have talent, but it's the energy, the will to win, the desire to be the best that will determine if you will be a championship team."

The message fits with the motto the Texas players wear on the back of their shirts during the team's vigorous early morning conditioning workouts -- "No More Excuses."

To back up his point about talent, Dungy used the example of his Indianapolis Colts teams, characterizing the Super Bowl-winning group as one of the least talented of the seven he coached in Indianapolis. What set it apart? It was the most closely-knit team he coached there and it decided early that it was going to accept the challenge. And believe in itself.

The same philosophy could help the Longhorns achieve similar success, Dungy said.

"If you guys do that, I promise you there's plenty enough talent in this room to get it done."