As if the cracked voice of Texas Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong didn’t say enough in the post-game press conference following a shocking loss to the Kansas Jayhawks, widespread reports emerged on Saturday evening reinforcing the obvious:
Two high-ranking Texas sources told https://t.co/XBNn1ev7Ha they expect Charlie Strong to be fired.https://t.co/NqULXy0eFT— Chip Brown (@ChipBrownHD) November 20, 2016
Although it will not happen tonight, I've been told by two high-level Texas sources that Charlie Strong will be replaced as HC.— Geoff Ketchum (@gkketch) November 20, 2016
Strong hasn't been fired, but it's only a matter of time at this point.— Geoff Ketchum (@gkketch) November 20, 2016
"Today was the point of no return," one high-level source texted.
“I don't see how Charlie Strong will survive” source told @ESPN; still expected to coach vs. TCU, sources told @ESPN https://t.co/7TqKzVW8s3— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) November 20, 2016
Now the question is the timing of it — likely after the TCU game, with a swiftness and regardless of outcome — and the negotiation about whether or not Strong received a fair chance at Texas.
For the record, the answer is yes.
While there was certainly a residual impact from former head coach Mack Brown leaving a program with little depth in the younger classes and systemic cultural problems, Strong did himself no favors.
Linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary is the only remaining assistant coach from Strong’s staff assembled less than three years ago.
Perhaps the biggest mistakes revolved around the offense — in failing to understand the nature of Big 12 offenses and how much Teddy Bridgewater buoyed the Louisville offense, Strong wasted two offseasons on Shawn Watson.
The defense didn’t translate well either after losing the experienced talent from the 2014 group. Once again, Strong made the critical mistake of not replacing defensive coordinator Vance Bedford prior to the season.
When it became apparent that Strong had no other choice but to demote his longtime colleague, he had little margin for error, having wasted the season’s only bye week in addition to all of the practices following the bowl-less, disappointing 2015 season.
Texas is 1-17 when trailing at halftime and has split losses between excruciatingly close defeats and unacceptable blowouts.
Yes, Strong is a good man by any apparent public definitions — his players care about him and he helps them develop as people.
Yes, president Greg Fenves and athletic director Mike Perrin gave him the resources to succeed.
There isn’t a cesspool in Austin that sucked in Strong, despite anything that Kirk Herbstreit might continue to say.
By some reports, Strong was reticent to even take the job.
Perhaps he didn’t understand how little he would inherit.
Unquestionably, he didn’t initially understand what it would take to succeed in the Big 12 and at Texas.
Once Strong finally got a grasp, his inability to make timely and correct decisions about his staff or attend to the little details that help put a team over the top ultimately ended his tenure.
Now it’s just time to wait a few more days for the inevitable and move forward.