After Week One of the college football season, people were thinking that the University of Texas Longhorns could threaten for the Big 12 title, or even a National Championship. Texas showcased true freshman quarterback Shane Buechele and defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 50-47, in primetime. Texas used veteran quarterback Tyrone Swoopes in the red zone, where his large frame is almost impossible to stop. Unfortunately, after a disappointing start to the season for the Fighting Irish, and two straight losses for the Texas Longhorns, things are not looking well for either club.
At the time, #11 Texas was involved in a shootout with the University of California in Week Three and narrowly lost by a touchdown, with a final score of 43-50. After a week off, #21 Texas began conference play against the Oklahoma State Cowboys this past weekend in Stillwater. In yet another shootout, the Longhorns could not pull off the victory and were defeated 31-49. The Longhorns have relinquished at least 47 points in three out of their first four games and have given up 99 points in their last two contests.
Now, however, reports are surfacing about the likelihood of Head Coach Charlie Strong being fired. According to a high ranking official within the UT football system, Charlie Strong is "close" to losing his job. According to another report from Sports Illustrated, Charlie Strong is expected to be relieved of his services at the end of the season. After such a phenomenal start to the season, could the Longhorns really fire their head coach with eight games to go?
In an effort to ease the pain that the Longhorns are experiencing on defense, Charlie Strong has assumed the defensive responsibilities from Defensive Coordinator Vance Bedford. While some may view this as a last-ditch effort to keep his job, I like this move from Strong. The Longhorns currently rank 116th in the country in scoring defense, and Strong was a defensive mastermind at the University of Florida as a defensive coordinator and as the head coach at the University of Louisville.
At the time of Strong's hiring, I loved the move for the Longhorns. Like I mentioned earlier, Strong has had an extremely successful career throughout college football, but I felt as if the Horns could have gotten somebody better (*Cough, Nick Saban, Cough*). Now, Baylor, LSU, and perhaps Auburn, among others, are going to be in the market for a head coach along with Texas if these reports are actually true.
Strong has had several strong recruiting classes on both sides of the football, but for some reason these players are not excelling once they are on campus. Could the schemes just not fit the players' style(s)? Are the players underperforming?
It seems as if there is something always wrong with this Longhorns team. Last season, the Horns were playing an elite-level of defense, but the offense was faltering. Led by Jerrod Heard and Tyrone Swoopes, Texas could not move the football at all on offense. Now this season, we are seeing a complete flip in issues. Shane Buechele and Tyrone Swoopes are complimenting each other and the offense as a whole is rolling, but the defense could not catch a cold.
Texas needs to reclaim the dominance that they had during the Vince Young and Colt McCoy eras, or donors will start to become very angry. Angry donors mean less money, and less money means worse football. Hopefully this move by Charlie Strong to assume the defensive play-calling will give the Longhorns an opportunity to finish with a winning record for the first time since 2013, when they went 8-5.
However, will it even matter at this point?