Charlie Strong Hasn’t Succeeded And He Never Got The Chance


Congrats to Mike Perrin. Congrats to the Texas high school coaches who anonymously criticized Strong before he ever coached a Longhorn game. Congrats to the pundits who speculated about Charlie Strong’s future in his first season.

Saturday’s failed comeback effort in a 45-40 loss to rival Oklahoma drops Texas to 2-3, making it now 3-for-3 on Charlie Strong’s teams starting below .500 in their first five games. Anyone who deemed the Strong hire a failure from the outset can now celebrate, because the doomsday clock just moved to 11:59.

Three underwhelming seasons would land a coach on the hot seat heading into his fourth year not long ago. Four years was the norm for a coach in rebuilding mode: one full recruiting cycle.

Four years became three years in the last decade. Within just the past two or three seasons, two years became the new three years.

Texas can certainly turn it around on the back-half of the schedule. Nothing about the Big 12 has been especially impressive this season — hello, TCU’s last-second win at Kansas on Saturday. But a struggling Longhorn defense faces the prolific Texas Tech offense next week, with Charlie Strong in desperate need of a win.

This is where we’re at with college football. Job security’s measured on a week-to-week scale.

Should the Longhorns recover to beat Texas Tech, it matters little in the long run. Ditto the week after. Or the week after.

Mike Perrin lurks like a wraith. His regular assessments of the state of Texas football make it abundantly clear that the speculation and second-guessing will always linger. But Perrin, like Mack Brown, Gary Barnett or any number of anonymous sources, are only avatars for an idea.

National championship obsession exist in the same fashion as the It Follows spirit. It’s unrelenting, it’s terrifying and omnipresent, and it takes many forms. The reference might be convoluted, but I’m at a loss describing how coaches end up on the hot seat.

Charlie Strong was seemingly on the hot seat from the moment he arrived in Texas. The expectations will never leave that program, and Strong’s successor — regardless when he’s hired, whether that’s this November or five seasons from now — must stay ahead of the same standard.

But it never seemed Strong had the chance to ever get started.