On Sunday morning, following a brutal overtime loss by the Texas Longhorns to the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence, the Burnt Orange Nation Twitter account posted this in reference to Charlie Strong’s potential firing:
I'm sure however this whole mess goes down, it will be the worst of all possible options— Burnt Orange Nation (@BON_SBNation) November 20, 2016
It was, potentially, the easiest prediction BON has made all season.
The leadership at Texas is, in a word, pathetic. It fumbles the ball in critical situations more often than the actual team. We’ve seen it before and we’ll see it again -- but this particular mess could be one of the ugliest yet.
First, let’s be clear about the correct decision: Texas should have let Strong go on Sunday after the Kansas game.
Nobody would blame Texas for parting ways with a coach who has posted the worst three-year record in Longhorns history after a stunning overtime loss to Kansas — a team that hadn’t won a conference game in two years. It was an anticipated move that made sense for all parties involved.
Instead, Texas did nothing on Sunday. From a PR perspective, this is the absolute worst possible option.
Texas had the opportunity to get out in front of this story and completely blew it. The failure on the Texas administration this week is arguably worse than the failure of the Texas football team on Saturday in Lawrence.
If Texas knew on Sunday morning it was keeping Strong on staff for TCU, it should have released a statement saying as much right then. Getting out in front of this story — rather than responding to reports after the fact — would have eliminated much of the hysteria on Sunday night. Hysteria that has pushed Texas players to the point of threatening to boycott the next game.
And let’s be completely clear, if the decision makers have already decided to fire Strong after the TCU game — they deserve to get fired as well.
Strong nailed his press conference on Monday morning — Texas provided him with an opportunity to make a case as to why he should stay for another season to the media. If Strong is getting fired regardless of Friday’s outcome, this press conference should never have happened.
There is nothing the Texas administration can learn about Strong’s ability to coach in the next week that it doesn’t already know. Sitting on a decision and letting Strong blow in the wind this week is cowardly.
UT President Greg Fenves doesn’t know football or college athletics — but because he decided to hand the keys of the football program over to an inexperienced booster instead of a professional, he’s the one sinking this ship. And he has decided to take it down at the same pace as the Titanic.
And if Texas beats TCU? All bets are off. This whole mess gets a lot uglier. Strong’s players will carry him off the field. Texas fans will give him a raucous ovation. The Longhorns will be bowl eligible for the first time in two years and, what, Texas fires him on Saturday? Ugh. If you thought this week was bad PR, I can’t imagine how bad that would look.
This entire season has been a Texas-sized blunder. Everyone involved has pushed the limits on failure and ineptitude. It’s another stain on an already ugly decade of Texas athletics.
Texas leadership can’t be trusted in these situations to make the right decisions. That, more than 6-6 Longhorns football, is the most disappointing reality.