After getting embarrassed 38-3 in South Bend this past Saturday, the Texas Longhorns are left licking their wounds, and while head coach Charlie Strong isn’t on the hot seat just yet, he might not want to put up another 35-point loss in a high-profile game this season.
At this point – one season and one game into Strong’s tenure – what do Texas fans think of him?
“I think they like Charlie, but you like your coach when he’s winning – and he does not have a signature win,” HornsDigest.com Longhorns writer Chip Brown said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “He’s got Rice this week and then a very explosive Cal offense coming in. Then it’s Oklahoma State, then it’s TCU, then it’s OU. It’s a front-loaded schedule for a team that is relying right now on eight key freshmen in the starting lineup. That’s a young team. Everything is pointed toward 2016, but the arrow has to point up this season. It has to be firmly pointed up. People have to see that this is headed in the right direction, and obviously right now no one is feeling like that. There’s 15,000 tickets still available for the home opener Saturday, and I would imagine there will be a bunch of no-shows on top of that.
“This is a young team, a very talented freshmen class that just rolled in, and Charlie’s got to keep their energy going because they’re a talented, spirited group,” Brown continued. “I think this is part of making sure they’re maximizing every bit of their talent because Shawn Watson is a passing-minded offensive coordinator. I think he felt like Tyrone Swoopes could get back to the guy who was 23-of-34 passing in a 28-7 win over Oklahoma State last year, but I think Tyrone Swoopes’ confidence was obliterated by TCU last year when he turned it over four times, then he goes to the Texas Bowl and plays Arkansas when they barely rolled up 59 yards and then they go to Notre Dame and churn out 163 yards, no touchdowns and a field goal. They’re dead last in the FBS right now in total offense and scoring offense.”
As bad as Texas looked, the Irish, to be fair, had something to do with that.
“I think Notre Dame is a potential Final Four team,” Brown said. “They are so stout on the offensive and defensive lines, and then you look at Will Fuller at wide receiver and Malik Zaire. That kid’s got some magic to him. I think Notre Dame is really good. Now, Texas fans think, ‘Nah, that was just us being really bad,’ but I think Notre Dame is going to prove to be talented and get better every week, and I think the Texas defense will get better every week. Malik Jefferson, everybody saw No. 46 for Texas, true freshman, making plays behind the line of scrimmage. Charlie Strong can coach linebackers and they can develop linebackers, we know that. So I think the defense will keep coming. They just need to find their identity (on offense).”