There’s an old Texas term which certainly rings true with the recent Texas Longhorns hire of new head coach Charlie Strong:
It won’t all be sunshine and daffodils.
While there is substantial excitement among the majority of the program’s fan base behind the arrival of the energetic, no-nonsense, no frills former head coach of the Louisville Cardinals, there are also some reasons to give pause.
Over the past few days since the formal announcement of Strong’s hire, there have been decommitments among the 2014 recruiting class and some apparent wavering among other current, rostered players and others who may consider Texas down the road.
The state of Texas is about loyalty, and there’s no doubt that loyalty extends from the high school coaches in the state, the alumni base and others who have a vested interest in the success of the Longhorns football program. Some of these loyalties may be directly tied to Mack Brown, and him alone, and therefore will cause some backlash.
You can rest assured that some coaches in the state — whether petty, or not — will hold a grudge against the University for lightly pushing Brown out the door on the Forty Acres and there will be some recruiting casualties as a result. It’s just human nature for some of those with deep ties to the Texas program.
Beyond the emotional ties, there will also be lost recruits due to a philosophy shift. It’s apparent that the Charlie Strong regime and overall system at Texas will be a departure from the 16-year status quo to which football people have become accustomed.
New staff members will be recruiting in (largely) unfamiliar territory and their means to create, or in some cases, solidify, the most important recruiting relationships in the state will be a work in progress. While Strong stated a desire in his initial press conference to control the state in terms of recruiting, doing so will be easier said than done in the short term.
Apart from recruiting challenges, Charlie Strong and his staff — as well as Steve Patterson who was the final decision-maker — will have other less visible tasks to conquer as well. Some of the more vocal alumni — including heavy-hitting financier Red McCombs — have voiced their concern about Strong’s hire and the position in which it leaves the Texas program.
Strong — and Patterson by association — will be in constant “proving myself” mode throughout the course of the next few seasons. Proving themselves to the fan base. Proving themselves to the alumni base. Proving themselves to donors. Proving themselves to high school coaches. Proving themselves to the Board of Regents.
To suggest that Charlie Strong will simply be Mack Brown by proxy is absurd. The Texas job requires a special skill set which Steve Patterson believes Strong has, but will be up to him to prove.
The road to do that will be full of potholes and roadblocks, but no task of this magnitude is ever an exception.
Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer, Business Analyst and College Content Coordinator for Rant Sports.