Charlie Strong is seven games into his third season as the Longhorns’ head coach. Just as in his first two campaigns, his team holds a 3–4 record. With his tenure at Texas growing more uncertain week by week, Strong addressed the media Monday morning ahead of a tough matchup with No. 8 Baylor on Saturday.
Here are two main takeaways from Strong and his players.
Running out of excuses
Throughout Strong’s time in Austin, he’s preached that his team has been “very close” to putting it all together and winning games on a consistent basis. But after two straight losing seasons and a combined 14–18 record in his Texas career, even Strong admitted the Longhorns might have been further from success than he thought all along.
“You want better progress than what we’re seeing,” Strong said. “You look at some of those games, and we always come back to it where we’re ‘so close.’ I say that to the team, I told them, ‘[We’ve] kind of just worn that cliché out.’”
Still, Strong said his team has five games left this season and still has an opportunity to be the best team he’s coached at Texas by the end of the season. Turning it around starts with a strong showing against a top-10 team Saturday.
Baylor surpassing Texas
Seven years ago, Baylor finished the 2009 season with a 4–8 record. The Bears hadn’t won five games in one season since 2005, when they went 5–6.
Texas paid a visit to the BCS National Championship Game in both of those seasons. But the two programs have taken opposite turns since then. Baylor had at least 10 wins in each of the last three seasons; Texas hasn’t reached that total since 2009, when it went 13–1.
“They’ve done a really good job of just recruiting,” Strong said. “The thing they’ve done, and you look at their system, and they may have been one of the first in the [Big 12] to start spreading people out and getting the ball in the athletes’ hands.”
The Texas players, however, still believe they are the team to beat in the growing Texas-Baylor rivalry. Senior wide receiver Jacorey Warrick was asked if he views Baylor as a more successful program than Texas. His answer was simple.
“No,” Warrick said. “They’ve had a lot of recent success, but … just as far as us trying to catch up to them? No, I don’t. We go into the game still thinking that we’re going to dominate. Even this week.”