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Charlie Strong, players describe post-game locker room celebration

"I just walked in there and they grabbed me."

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Longhorns had just defeated a ranked opponent at home for the first time in six years and the post-game locker room in Austin was exploding in ecstasy, captured both by a graduate assistant and the Longhorn Network.

In the celebration, the players spontaneously raised up head coach Charlie Strong and gave him no less than eight tosses in recognition of his first winning streak at Texas.

charlie strong post game

And there's also video now.

By the time that Strong and the players came out for the post-game press conference, the Longhorn interwebs were already exploding with the visuals of Strong being hoisted in the air by his players in a cathartic post-game celebration, so the assembled media got the story from the head coach and his players:

"I just walked in there and they grabbed me," Strong said. 

This wasn't the first time Strong had been lifted up by one of his teams. His Louisville players passed him around in 2011 after 38-35 victory over the same foe - a West Virginia team that was ranked No. 24. 

"That was great. I don't even know how we got him up," Texas running back Malcolm Brown said. "A couple people picked him up and then, all the sudden, he's up in the air flying." 

Defensive end Cedric Reed guessed it might've taken 30 players and coaches to get Strong in the air. 

"Coach Strong is heavy, man," Reed said. "He's a well-built guy." 

Added cornerback Quandre Diggs, who did not partake in lifting up Strong: "He's a heavy lil' fella. It was just a big party in there."

Beset with dismissals, suspensions, and injuries, Texas had spent most of the season reeling from losses and frustrated by game-changing mistakes and a general inability to finish or play enough winning football to beat good teams.

In an imperfectly perfect performance that exorcised the demons of going nearly six full seasons without beating a ranked opponent at home, this Longhorns program grew up a little bit.

The coaches have talked about the process and about growing and the growth has happened in fits and starts, but it had never been enough to beat a good team. Play caller Shawn Watson said that the team has been growing from the adversity to create the character, attitude, and chemistry behind the leadership of the seniors that has the younger players following their guidance. Going through that process amid adversity.

And make no mistake, the adversity that Texas has faced is notable even for a coach like Watson who got into the business in 1982 -- more than 30 years ago.

"No, we've never been through anything like this in my entire career," he said.

For the players, though, it's worth it. Worth it for what it's doing for them as football players right now and worth it for their own growth as people.

"You know, a lot could be set good for those kids. I keep telling them that this is going to be a great life lesson for them. They're going to take and become better men period, better fathers, better husbands, better people for what they're going through, because they certainly have served this perseverance, the test of perseverance, the toughness that they've had to go through.

They've been remarkable because they just keep giving it to us. And those kids get a lot of reps during the week. That is an outstanding crew of people."

Now it's all been worth it because is it's all coming together enough to beat a good football team. The process is working, advancing.

And that feels good, apparently.