In a sharp display of defiance, Texas Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong had some stern words for the numerous doubters after the ‘Horns pulled out a 35-34 victory over the Baylor Bears at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
Strong called the effort of his football team “amazing” after expressing how proud he was of the response to weeks of adversity, including four losses in the previous five games and looming questions about Strong’s job security and fitness for the position.
Then he went on the attack.
“You know, when you talk about the noise in the system and just — I know this: I have a really good team, and I have a special team, and I have a team that I really care about, and a team that really cares about me, and it's not a program that's in disarray, which many of you think,” Strong said.
“It's not a program that is going backwards. It's a program that's headed forward, and it's a program that is going to be a special — it's going to be special one of these days when you watch this program really take off.”
There were continued game management issues and more tackling problems and Strong’s defense wasn’t able to do much to stop the running of Baylor quarterback Seth Russell, but the players did show 100 percent effort for their coach.
Strong went on to commend that effort while denouncing critics.
“But as those guys continue to battle the noise, it helps no one,” Strong said. “It's just an embarrassment to everyone, and I just hate it for them, when you're talking about 17, 18 year olds, and the way they feel about their coach and the way their coach feels about them, and for them to have to just continue to hear it.”
Basically, Strong delivered the one-fingered salute:
Charlie Strong to all his haters pic.twitter.com/xOLY7vNXS3— Burnt Orange (@ahansen3297) October 30, 2016
An unconscious slip? Surely so. Based on his post-game comments, however? The overall message was clear.
Now the team has to continue to respond. Strong understands the history of struggles on the road with a trip to Lubbock to face off against the Texas Tech Red Raiders looming next weekend, he just believes that the chemistry of this group will at least give it a chance to pull through.
“But this team, they're a special group because any other team that I've been around probably would have let that affect them, and they probably would have turned against one another, which it hasn't done,” Strong said.
“It's so funny because everybody thinks within these walls, it's crumbling, but if you're coming within these walls you'll never see a team so close and a team that knows what they have to do and a team that just hurts inside when things don't go their way.”