After a remarkably poised press conference that focused on the players and their personal growth, Texas Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong left his Monday availability and was greeted by virtually the entire football team:
Charlie Strong leaving today's press conference, greeted by his players. pic.twitter.com/Ccm3L0jZzQ— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) November 21, 2016
Charlie Strong's exit pic.twitter.com/mBghWfBHkl— Sarah Merrifield (@SCMerrifield) November 21, 2016
Two days after being humiliated by Big 12's worst team, Strong leaves presser mobbed by players, laughing, hugging, high-fiving. Surreal.— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) November 21, 2016
And then the players went and ate the Pluckers catered by the school:
Maybe that was how the players decided to get revenge on the media for a season full of discussions about their head coach’s job security.
Maybe they were just hungry.
The ultimate takeaway from the press conference, besides Strong’s continued poise in difficult situations, is that the school set itself up for an ugly situation if the Longhorns come out and beat the Horned Frogs on Friday and still fire Strong after the season.
No one could blame the school for making that decision on Sunday or Monday, but things will get much more contentious if Texas closes the regular season with a win.
Pressure would mount to keep Strong in place for another season, and that might not be in the program’s best long-term interests, as Scipio Tex pointed out:
2. The loss in Lawrence dynamited inertia. Committing six turnovers and losing to a team that hasn’t defeated a FBS opponent since 2014 will do that. The danger of retaining Strong wasn’t a losing season in 2017. It was a 8-4 or 9-3 season in a depleted Big 12 that wins him a grudging 3 year extension, tepid resignation from the fans and a protracted six to eight year ordeal.
We were done a painful favor.
Now, by virtue of owning the press conference, in sharp contrast to the public relations disaster that occurred on Sunday, Texas failed to take control over the situation in any way, shape, or form, and now faces the possibility that Strong could make a case for keeping his job after the decision has already been made behind the scenes.
Texas is denying that such a decision happened and Strong is taking the administration at face value, but this whole thing is getting more ridiculous by the minute.
Winning a press conference is now looming larger than arguably the worst loss in school history. Let’s just stop and think about that for a minute.
Even if Strong does earn a return in 2017 with a win on Friday, it could play out just like things did at LSU this season — another bad loss or two and Texas would likely have to make the in-season decision to remove him as the head coach.
There would be no margin for error lost following an offseason in which Strong would have to hire a new defensive coordinator with little to no job security. Most notably, without a contract extension.
Does anyone really want that? To see Strong fired in September or October if Texas loses a game or two in a row next season?