DALLAS (AP) — Charlie Strong riled up plenty of Texas fans during a statewide spring tour by saying the Longhorns wouldn't be in the national championship game.
The new coach toned down his honest assessment in future stops, then said Tuesday in his first appearance at Big 12 media days that he prefers not even talking about championships.
"'I've been part of two national championships. The place (Florida) that I won it at, we never talked about going and winning a national championship," Strong said. "You expect them to have expectations at the University of Texas because you're at a premier program. But it's all about our players and just making sure we go compete. I don't ever want to put pressure on our team, on our players at all. I just want them to go out and just go to work each and every day."
The Longhorns haven't even won a Big 12 title since the 2009 season, when they made it to the national championship game, which is the primary reason Mack Brown is no longer the Texas coach.
Oklahoma is the preseason favorite to win its league-high ninth Big 12 title. Texas, which appeared with the Sooners, West Virginia, Kansas State and Iowa State on the second day of media days, is picked fourth.
Strong said his national championship comment on the first stop of the spring tour came as the Longhorns had just finished spring practice.
"We were not a healthy football team at that time," Strong said. "I can't say just how far off we are and that we will not know that until we go compete this fall. But we still have work to do. Now, we're not as bad as we used to be."
Strong said quarterback David Ash played "very well" when healthy last season and is the starter. Ash has been cleared to participate in contact drills after missing most of last season with concussion symptoms and part of spring drills with a broken left foot.
Oklahoma coach Bo Stoops sounded hopeful about possibly adding two proven offensive players this season, and not having to wait until 2015 for former Missouri receiver Dorial Green-Beckham and quarterback Baker Mayfield, a true freshman starter for Texas Tech last season when he threw for 2,315 yards and 12 touchdowns in eight games.
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