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Texas Preview 2016: It's Strong's Program Now


The Texas football outlook for the 2016 season. It’s Charlie Strong’s time to finally put it all together.


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Bill Belichick has created a dynasty helped by the idea of cutting a player a year too early than a year too late. Texas probably kept on a legendary head coach a few years too late, and Charlie Strong is still trying to make up for it.

It’s been a rocky first two seasons under Strong as he’s had to try to rebuild up the talent base and all but start over again, but it hasn’t happened fast enough.

After all, it’s Texas – it’s not supposed to be that hard to bring the superstar NFL types into Austin and let them roll.

Making matters worse has been the instant success of Jim Harbaugh – showing what life might be like at a powerhouse with the right head coach – and the in-state ascension of TCU and Baylor as big-time national players hasn’t helped.

Texas A&M’s slip from grace and Texas Tech’s inability to blow up under Kliff Kingsbury has helped a wee bit in terms of the overall pressure, but it’s Texas, and Texas has to have an elite football program that challenges for the national title every year, especially considering that it’s bound by absolutely nothing.

The athletic department is printing money, the recruiting base is as fertile as any in the country, the school is terrific, and the history is top-notch. All that’s missing is a little bit of a positive run this year to propel everything forward, otherwise there are a whole bunch of other star coaches out there who’d love to get their shot at turning this back into the killer Mack Brown was able to recreate.

It’s been a long, long time since Texas was a true player, and the whole thing needed to undergo a gut job, but the understanding hasn’t been there for the latest regime. Ever since Colt McCoy got knocked out of the 2010 BCS Championship, it’s been a rough run with three losing seasons in the last six years and without any double-digit win campaigns. How strange is that? Texas went from 2001 to 2009 with nine-straight seasons of ten wins or more.

And now, even though Strong hasn’t had a full recruiting cycle, it’s his job to prove that he’s the right guy to lead the program forward. Is that fair? Should he get another year no matter what so his recruits can mature? No, and probably, but that’s the deal. His job is to make Texas look like it’s on the doorstep of being a superpower again.

After all, Texas won nine games in each of Brown’s first three seasons after taking over a 4-7 team.

This year, the Longhorns have an abundance or riches – or, at least, options – at quarterback, an outstanding set of running backs, decent talents at receiver and the best O line yet under Strong. The offense is going to grind it out and be able to pound a bit, but there might be some flash depending on who ends up taking over the quarterbacking gig.

The run defense that had so many problems has a loaded linebacking corps, strong tackles, and finally, a group in place to do all the things that were supposed to happen from the start of the Strong era. Added to a terrific secondary, and now Texas has the defense to go along with the ball-control offense – at least in theory – to start being far more consistent.

There’s not going to be a lot in the way of patience this season, especially with Notre Dame to kick things off, but, again, it’s Texas. It’s been more than two years of waiting for this to work, and that should be long enough.