Texas: Has Charlie Strong Finally Taken Control?


The Texas Longhorns make head coach Charlie Strong proud in stunning No.10 Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout in Dallas, Texas.

So, you’re 1-4 on the season in your second year on the job at the University of Texas. Your team can’t seem to finish football games and that’s before you are completely blown out of Ft. Worth, Texas by arguably the best team in college football just a week ago.

If your head coach Charlie Strong, what’s going on in your mind following a 50-7 loss to No.2 TCU amid a cascade of social media crap between your players?

The answer?

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I have no idea, but it apparently something worked.

History says that when Texas lines up against a ranked Sooners team at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas some good things can happen. The Longhorns entered this game 5-2 in this scenario, and they exited with a record of 6-2.

Texas bullied Oklahoma from start to finish, and they did so with a defense that was just embarrassed a week ago and less than an hour away in Ft.Worth. The final score of 24-17 served notice that despite recent shortcomings of all kinds, this football program is not dead.

In fact, it might be on the rise finally.

The evidence suggests that Texas has found its quarterback in red shirt freshman Jerrod Heard. I think that this could certainly change somewhere down the road, but for now this is how it is – keep in mind that junior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes also had a touchdown pass in this game.

Heard didn’t prove much as a passer against the Sooners, but he did lead his team to its biggest win of the season. He was second on the team in rushing with 115 yards with only sophomore running back D’Onta Foreman ahead with 117 yards on just nine carries.

No, this was not a game for fans of the passing game, but if you believe in the old adage, “offense wins games, defense wins championships,” then this was really a work of art by the Longhorns. The ‘championship’ part may not apply, but first things first, right?

For the Longhorns, winning football games is the first priority, and they just won their biggest so far under Strong.

In a season that began with complete uncertainty at quarterback and then followed up with the firing of an athletic director, a win against the 10th ranked football team in the country is a welcomed event, no matter where that team comes from. The fact that this particular opponent was from just north of the Red River makes things even sweeter.

It’s hard to tell exactly what direction Texas will go following Saturday’s unexpected victory over Oklahoma. If the Longhorns defense continues to play the way they did against OU, then things could turn rather quickly.

Texas held the Sooners to just 67 yards rushing and a modest 211 passing yards. Perhaps the biggest stat of all comes in the area of 3rd down efficiency. The Sooners were a dismal 3-for-12 on 3rd down while Texas marched with a much more effective 9-for-16.

It comes as no surprise that Texas owned the time of possession battle 31:55 to 28:05 for the Sooners – OU was probably fortunate that it wasn’t much more lopsided than that.

It’s times like these where a team with a strong head coach like Strong can look at its season in one of two ways.

For starters, the Longhorns can tell themselves that their merely a 2-4 football team that isn’t really expected to reach .500 in 2015.

Or, Strong can pound in his players’ heads that a mere four points separates this team from actually being 4-2 with just-missed wins over the California Golden Bears (45-44) and the Oklahoma State Cowboys (30-27).

If the Texas roster is really buying into what Strong is selling, I’m not sure that I’m too eager to be the Kansas State Wildcats, the next team on the schedule following next week’s bye and also the opponent that next lines up against UT at Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium.

After the Wildcats, Texas travels to Ames, Iowa to face the Iowa State Cyclones to close out October.

Strong still has his work cut out for him this season, but the win against Oklahoma has at least given this rebuilding program with no shortage of talent something to build on.

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  • Published on 10/11/2015 at 00:01 AM
  • Last updated at 10/10/2015 at 23:30 PM