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New Texas football coach Charlie Strong has character, background to turn Texas back into a championship-caliber team

by Jenni Carlson Published: January 6, 2014
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photo - Charlie Strong holds up the
Charlie Strong holds up the "Hook'em Horns" hand signal during an NCAA college football news conference where he was introduced as the new Texas football coach, Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, in Austin, Texas. Strong acknowledged the historical significance of being the school's first African-American head coach of a men's sport. He takes over for Mack Brown, who stepped down last month after 16 seasons. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

All of those passed over passers were Texas high school players who probably would've crawled to Austin if given a chance to play quarterback for the Longhorns.

Ditto for Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck. Texas didn't get either of those two in a year when it signed no quarterbacks.

Yikes.

Strong isn't an offensive mastermind, of course, but he's no dummy either when it comes to that side of the ball. He knows what to look for in quarterbacks, having been at Florida when the Gators had Tim Tebow and Chris Leak and at Notre Dame when the Irish had Ron Powlus.

No surprise that Strong and Co. landed a good one at Louisville. Teddy Bridgewater was one of the nation's top-ranked dual-threat quarterbacks when the Cardinals signed him, and later this spring, he might just be the No. 1 pick in this spring's NFL Draft.

Imagine if the Longhorns had a Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback these past few years.

Chances are good, Mack would still be coaching the Longhorns instead of raising money for them, a duty that's sure to be part of his new gig as special adviser to university president Bill Powers. I mean, no one sells the university better than Brown.

(Suggestion for Strong, who apparently loathes camera lights: ask Mack to come to practice every day and be your Longhorn Network liaison. Dealing with that responsibility every day would be a drag for someone who loves the media, but Mack would do it in a heartbeat and would be good at it.)

The truth is, Strong wasn't the first choice of the Longhorns. There were candidates with bigger names and higher profiles who had the eyes of Texas upon them. But despite that and a so-so introduction Monday morning, there's no doubt that Strong can make the Longhorns a force that once again stands toe-to-toe with anyone in the Big 12.

“At the end of the day,” Strong said, “it's all about winning.”

Charlie Strong can do that on the field.

Win there, and no one will care what he does in the press conferences.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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