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Texas "progress" rhetoric continues despite Notre Dame blowout

This kinda talk has a short shelf-life.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

"It was 38-3, but I still say we're a better football team than that," said a dejected Texas Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong following the team's third straight blowout loss, this time a complete and total 38-3 destruction at the hands of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

"Progress is being made, but I know we haven't shown it in the last two games," said assistant head coach for offense/quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson, somehow forgetting the TCU game on Thanksgiving.

"We have made progress," said junior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes, who showed little to no improvement from last season.

Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford was one of the few to come with simple straight talk, as usual, telling Longhorn Network's Jane Slater that he gave the defense an 'F' for its performance.

"I just told our guys, 'We stunk up the joint. They took the fight to us, and we didn't finish the fight,'" he said.

That doesn't sound like progress. Not in any sense of the word. That sounds like more of the same for a team that gave up too often, too easily in 2014.

At some point, saying that the team is better when it proves itself to largely be the same as last season doesn't work. At some point, the cacophony calling for Watson's firing will reach a fever pitch. It already started on Saturday night, as Cowboys beat writer Clarence Hill, Jr. put in his own demand to oust Strong's longtime assistant.

That progress rhetoric can't continue for very long -- at some point in the near future, the Horns will be exactly what they appear to be. Right now, that's still a poor football team that can't move the ball on offense because it can't protect the quarterback or change the line of scrimmage in the running game.

Maybe it's just youth. Maybe the team just needs a few weeks to improve and demonstrate that progress. Maybe this is all so frustrating because it was so tempting to buy in to all the offseason rhetoric about that supposed progress.

If it doesn't happen soon -- like, major signs of it next week against Rice -- it could be a long season, and one that does the Longhorns few favors on the recruiting trail as the 2016 class looms as a potentially defining one for the Charlie Strong era in Austin.