Make no mistake — Texas Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong is no fool. The third-year coach knows that his job is on the line this year, but he’s not letting that bother him.
“It really doesn't wear on me because when you're around the team and you see what you have and what you continue to build, it really doesn't wear on me,” Strong said in late June.
Where former head coach Mack Brown often discussed the things that scared him to death and held worry meetings to fret about anything and quite possibly everything, Strong has a much different temperament — his response recently was similar to the questions that he faced on National Signing Day about the risk involved with the huge finish.
“I know we just have to continue to improve as a team, do a better job of recruiting, get the right guys and just build it the right way.”
In other words, Strong is concerned about the things that he can control — recruiting, development, building relationships with his players, and finding the players that fit his system and his core values.
Basically, it’s about the process.
With a strong offensive staff that should make up for Strong’s worst decisions in assembling his initial group of assistants and two excellent recruiting classes now almost entirely on campus, the Longhorns should be able to show the improvement that Strong wants this season.
But since Strong understands that it will be a process, he also knows that there are no guarantees Texas will make a big jump this season from 2015’s 5-7 performance.
“We're young and talented and you just don't know,” he said. It's all about how you come out and compete. You can't count the wins or say, ‘It's going to be this big of a jump.’ We know we have to improve and get better.”
If that happens, the ‘Horns could experience a similar leap as the one made by Strong’s Cardinals team during his third season in Louisville — from 7-6 to 11-2.
While improving by four games is unlikely for Texas against a difficult schedule, regardless of what happens, Strong will remain focused on the things that matter, not needless anxiety about his long-term future.