clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Charlie Strong: Longhorns hit a wall in Tuesday practice

If Charlie ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The seemingly inevitable moment came to pass on Tuesday evening for the Texas Longhorns -- the night when the team failed to compete at practice to the extent that head coach Charlie Strong demands.

Inevitable because during any fall camp there are moments of flagging attention, less-than-ideal effort. And inevitable because one gets the impression that Strong is always watching and waiting, ready to pounce on the first player who doesn't hustle between drills.

"During preseason camp there's going to be days where you hit a wall," said Strong on Thursday evening. "You're just going to have to be able to just push through it. Mentally, you're going to have to have some toughness to you. Today we hit that wall and we were unable to push through it. We just weren't very pleased with today's practice."

For Strong, toughness takes a lot of forms and pushing through practice is one of them -- it's not just about being able to deliver hits defensively or come up with the tough catch over the middle in front of a closing safety during a game. Toughness is about going to class, working hard every practice.

It's also easy to spot when the effort isn't there.

"It doesn't take very long to see it because you're at practice and you get to watch it," Strong said. "It's just when you're dropping balls, when you're not making blocks, when the defense isn't getting off blocks, getting off the throws in the secondary, it's very visible. The thing about it is it's got to come from the leadership at some point, it's got to come from the coaching staff but also from the players."

And there aren't any excuses, especially not for the coaching staff.

"When there's bad days, there's bad days with the coaching staff," Strong said. "We didn't do a good job of pushing the guys and getting them prepared. The sun is going to be there, the heat is going to be there, but still it's all about working each and every day to get better. We're not a good enough football team to just waste days. We only have so many opportunities and we've got to take full advantage of the opportunities."

The new head coach also made it clear late last week that he's not happy with the current state of player leadership on the team, a sentiment he continued to express on Tuesday.

"Well, you'd like to think you have enough seniors within your program, someone would have said something. You look at your defensive front, you look at your two seniors there in your secondary. You have enough seniors on offensive line, you have [Dominic] Espinosa, you have a running back in Malcolm Brown, so you like to see them at some point take over the team."

As Strong continues to push his seniors to take more ownership, he also acknowledged that the second week is a tough one for players, as many have final exams for their second summer sessions classes. And while the first week marks the exciting return to football after the summer break, the second week is a "mental and physical battle."

On Tuesday, the Horns lost that battle on both fronts.