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Mack Brown Left Charlie Strong With Nothing, And Here’s The Proof

A definitive analysis of the last six coaching changes and the talent (or lack thereof) each of them left behind.

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Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong answers media questions about quarterback Teddy Bridgewaters future with the team after the NCAA Football Russell Athletic Bowl football game between the Louisville Cardinals and the Miami Hurricanes, at the Florida Citrus Bowl on Saturday, December 28, 2013 in Orlando, Florida. Louisville won the game by a score of 36-9, and as of today, Bridgewater is undecided on his return to the team. (AP Photo/Alex Menendez)

What follows is a sort of appendix to a piece we ran last Thursday that theorized that UT football coach Charlie Strong is being targeted for an ouster by big money donors. We compared Mack Brown’s handoff to Strong with another passing of the buck—Darrell Royal and Fred Akers, which eventually ended with Akers being fired when he couldn’t measure up to the legendary coach.

The biggest difference between Akers and Strong, however, is that Akers was left with an arsenal at his disposal. Strong, meanwhile, had the football equivalent of the island of misfit toys. To further illustrate our point, here’s an analysis of the last six coaching changes and the talent each coach left the next, and what those coaches were able to accomplish in their first few years.

The tl;dr version? Mack Brown was left with as much talent as any coach since Fred Akers, while he left behind less than any coach over that same time. And with that in mind, it’s hard to blame Strong for a rocky start.

Here goes:

When Fred Akers took over from Darrell Royal, the Longhorn larder was generously stocked with Royal’s recruits:

  • The offense included a Heisman Trophy winner and NFL Hall of Famer in Earl Campbell, indisputably one of the five greatest Longhorns of all time.
  • An Outland Trophy winner in Brad Shearer.
  • A two-time All-American and future NFL All-pro safety Johnnie Johnson.
  • A two-time All-American and future NFL number two overall draft pick wide receiver in lightning-fast Johnny “Lam” Jones, complemented by Alfred Jackson, who would catch passes in the NFL for seven seasons.
  • Three-time All-American punter and kicker Russell Erxleben, co-owner of the NCAA record for longest field goal at 67 yards.
  • A two-time All-American, two-time Pro Bowler and eventual Super Bowl champion in defensive tackle Steve “Bam Bam” McMichael, also a possible starter on an all-time Longhorn team.
  • Defensive back Ricky Churchman, who would win a Super Bowl ring with the San Francisco 49ers.
  • And Glenn Blackwood, who alongside his brother Lyle would go on to anchor the back of the Miami Dolphins “Killer B’s” defense.  (The “Bruise Brothers.” Remember?)

So. Small wonder that Akers was competing for a National Championship in his first year, or that his teams went 29-7 in his first three, and that the momentum from that could propel him to contend again in 1983.


 

In taking over from Akers in 1987, David McWilliams had a tougher row to hoe. Akers left him only:

  • All-American and future nine-year pro safety Stanley Richard.
  • Linebacker Britt Hager, UT’s all-time leading tackler and a future nine-year pro and a guy in the debate for the middle linebacking spot on the all-time team (as one of Tommy Nobis’s back-up, of course.)
  • A future NFL first-round draft pick in offensive tackle Stan Thomas.
  • Mighty-mite return man and wide receiver Tony Jones, who despite standing 5’7 and weighing 137 pounds survived five NFL seasons.
  • Three-year NFL safety John Hagy, equally as intimidating as Hager.
  • And, oh yeah, Eric Metcalf, one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in UT history, Texas’s own answer to Reggie Bush (albeit one stranded on bad teams with worse quarterbacks), and all-time TD leader among NFL punt returners.

 

Not exactly the juggernaut Royal bequeathed, but not a clapped-out jalopy, either. McWilliams went 11-12 in his first two seasons in Austin, and somehow managed to keep his job after going 5-6 in his third. Those three dismal campaigns included regular pastings by UH (by scores like 60-40, 47-9, and 66-15), a 47-6 loss to BYU, and a 44-9 whooping at the hands of Oklahoma. In the last two games of his third year, McWilliams’s Horns lost 21-10 to A&M and 50-7 Baylor, a historic blow-out on multiple levels: the Bears’ first win in Austin since 1951, and the most points they scored and the greatest margin of victory in the series which began in 1901.

His teams went 3-6 against the Horns trio of hated rivals in that span (you young ‘uns might not remember Arkansas once ranked up there with OU and A&M), and yet McWilliams was survived for a fourth, somewhat glorious year. That “Shock the Nation” season did not end well—a merciless 46-3 drubbing at the hands of Miami in a Cotton Bowl as cold as coach Dennis Erickson’s heart. And that was it: A second five-win season followed that beatdown, leading to McWilliams falling on his sword.

And so ended the Great Restoration of the Royal Regime, not with the bang of Smokey the Cannon but with the whimper of yet another in a long line of pulverizings by Jackie Sherrill’s Aggies, and that was all she wrote for David McWilliams.


 

As is so often the case with desperate sports programs, the Horns athletic department sought good ol’ boy McWilliams’s polar opposite and found it in dour John Mackovic, a former NFL coach and offensive mastermind who would bring Texas football out of the three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust old days once and for all.

Let’s see what weapons McWilliams left for that wine-sipping Yankee John Mackovic to array:

  • Blake Brockermeyer, an All-American tackle who went on to a solid journeyman NFL career.
  • Peter Gardere, a great college QB.
  • Lance Gunn and Van Malone, two DBs who went on to marginal NFL careers.
  • Huge linebacker Winfred Tubbs, who played seven years in the NFL and made a Pro Bowl once.

Given that scarcity of talent, it’s hardly surprising that Mackovic’s first two seasons look a lot like those of McWilliams and Strong. McWilliams went 11-11, Mackovic went 11-11, and Strong has gone 11-14.


 

On the other hand, here is what Mackovic left Mack Brown (you’ve heard of him, right?):

  • The Heisman Trophy winner in Ricky Williams, another top five or ten Longhorn of all time, and one who got to run behind three first- or second-team All Big 12 linemen.
  • A pair of NFL defensive tackles in Shaun Rogers and Casey Hampton, the latter a Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, five-time Pro Bowler, and anchor to a Super Bowl-winning Pittsburgh Steeler defense. Hampton is in the debate as the greatest nose tackle in Longhorn history,
  • Major Applewhite, an elite college QB, one trailing only Colt McCoy, Vince Young and Bobby Layne in Longhorn annals.
  • Two future All Big 12 receivers in Kwame Cavil, the future all-time leading Longhorn single-season pass-catcher, and Wane McGarity, another record-setter.
  • Mammoth Leonard Davis, a future first-round draft pick and All-American offensive tackle who played 12 seasons in the NFL, including three as a Pro Bowler.
  • Quentin Jammer, a future first-round draft pick and All-American cornerback, and member of the San Diego Chargers All 50th Anniversary team.
  • D.D. Lewis, a decent NFL linebacker and one of the best LBs Texas has had since the early 1980s. (To his credit, Brown moved him there from running back.)
  • Hodges Mitchell, still one of UT’s top ten leading rushers.

That looks more like the trove Royal left Akers than the meager fare Akers left McWilliams, or that McWilliams left Mackovic, so again, it’s hardly shocking that he was able to go 18-8 in his first two seasons, especially since he supplemented that inheritance with top-notch recruits. In fact, you might have expected him to have done more with all that in the years that followed, especially had he not rushed Chris Simms into the starting line-up ahead of Major Applewhite.


 

Yes, Mack deserves a lot of credit for turning the program around after the catastrophe that was Mackovic’s last season, but he had a ton of help from Mackovic’s guys, and that was a huge break he did not reciprocate when Bevo’s lead rope was pried from his hands and handed over to Charlie Strong:

Here are the precious few assets Mack left behind:

  • All-American defensive tackle Malcom Brown and injury-prone linebacker Jordan Hicks, the leaders of last year’s Longhorn defense and two guys who look like solid-to-great pros. Although both are very good players, neither was an all-time Texas great.
  • Mykkele Thompson and Quandre Diggs, two defensive backs who look marginal-to-solid in the NFL.
  • And, uh, Geoff Swaim, a tight end who caught one pass for 0 yards for the Cowboys.
  • Defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway, who will likely get drafted when he makes himself available this year or next.
  • And that’s pretty much it, aside from a few guys who might get invited to try out for NFL teams, like Duke Thomas, Daje Johnson, and Peter Jinkens.

And now, the things Mack got to enjoy that he did not leave behind for Charlie.

  • A Heisman winner, and Outland winner, or contenders for the mythical all-time Texas team.
  • A capable and/or experienced back-up to concussion-cursed quarterback David Ash, whose service Strong barely got to employ. (See Simms / Applewhite Controversy Aversion Plan alluded to above.)
  • A team reasonably free of entitled head cases. Strong booted from the team nine of Mack’s guys who could not adhere to Strong’s fairly basic “core values.” Some fault Strong for that, but none of those detractors have been able to point out a single one of these players who is now excelling elsewhere. Today, all are either out of football or buried on depth charts, and it seems unlikely than any would have made a difference in helping Texas win more games, this year or last.
  • Any semblance of a decent offensive line. Mackovic left a stable of college-level studs behind. Mack left almost nothing. After center Dom Espinosa went down for the season last year, and Strong purged a few other linemen, the Longhorns had precious little to work with. This year two true freshmen (Patrick Vahe and Connor Williams) were pressed into emergency service and by virtually all accounts were the squad’s best linemen. (Under Mack’s watch, no Longhorn offensive lineman has been drafted since George W. Bush was president, and that won’t change until Strong recruits Vahe and Williams go pro.)
  • Talent in general. Mack’s last half-dozen or so recruiting classes have been disasters. For the first time since 1938, no Longhorn was selected in the 2014 NFL draft. Over the last four years, Texas has seen only 11 of its players selected, while Strong’s old Louisville team saw ten picked in 2015 alone. And after last year’s five Longhorn selections (all but Hicks and Brown middle-to-low range), the prospect ahead looks grim, at least until Strong’s recruits become eligible in a couple of years.

And yet some expect Charlie Strong to have won and won big this year and last. And if he can’t do it, so this line of thinking goes, some other coach can.

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  • Ox-Bow

    What a load of BS. UT has been in the top of recruiting since I can remember. Certainly on par with OU and better than Baylor & TCU. The problem of UT football is much deeper.

    • mr. bojangles

      You haven’t been paying attention then

      • Ox-Bow

        Hey OU hired a coach from Louisville also and it didn’t work out either. They had to fire him after he was running all the kids off the team too.
        But at least Schnellenberger had a good resume.

        • The 1hyperborean

          100% true, you ut idiots can’t even admit Charlie was a 5th choice…and… out of desperation… He should write a check to Terry Bridgewater… every… time.. he… gets… paid.

          • Michael Russell

            He wasnt first, but he wasn’t fifth, either. What Longhorn won’t admit that, angry hyper dude?

          • Benito Camela

            You should probably watch a college football game or two before making stupid comments. Also, who’s Terry Bridgewater?

          • Benito Camela

            I think we have a couple of panicking Aggies here. What’s the matter guys? Two 5-star QBs transferring in the span of one week, Sumlin hangs onto Spav and which program is it that has problems again?

          • Regular Guy

            And it’s going to get worse when Louisville puts a beatdown on them in the bowl game.

          • Regular Guy

            You’re full of crap. CS wasn’t the first but wasn’t fifth either. His Louisville teams made a living putting beat downs on so-called P5 teams. And in 2015, ESPN picked 3 of his recruits for their all-freshmen team, which tied Alabama for most players on that team. CS is a much better judge and developer of talent than Brown, and the Big 12 will understand this very soon. But hey, it was fun while it lasted for you, huh?

          • FR2011

            All Freshman team?

            Only ESPN would come up with something that ridiculous.

          • Michael Russell

            Actually, most all of the major Sports News outlets have their own Freshman All-American team.

          • Regular Guy

            “Ridiculous”or not, it recognizes the fact that three of Strong’s recruits stood out from their peers on the field this year.

          • Michael Russell

            Most of the Sports News Mediums have a Freshman All-American Team. Been living under a rock?

          • FR2011

            That’s beyond ridiculous.

            Wake up.

          • Michael Russell

            How so. Google it. Not going to waste my time doing your research.

    • Michael Russell

      Texas was not on top of recruiting in Mack’s last few years. Check your facts. OU was on top during that time thru last year, but still got that azz taxed by Texas.

    • Benito Camela

      You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about. On par with OU and better than Baylor? Why don’t we revisit this topic AGAIN during this year’s NFL draft.

      Thanks in advance.

      • Michael Russell

        Well said, BC

  • Joe Smith

    This dude does not know anything about football, he is a restaurant reviewer

    • wessexmom

      Then present your case if you think you know better.

      • Joe Smith

        and what do you know?

        • Michael Russell

          Great comeback, Joe!

        • Benito Camela

          Nobody cares what he knows. He’s not a certifiable CFB genius like you. We all await your case with bated breath, Joe Smith! Educate us, please!

    • Chris

      Ad hominem attacks are not good arguments. Especially when the article is not relying on any kind of appeal to authority or expertise.

      • Michael Russell

        Not an Ad hominem attack. Logic 101. Besides the authority that he appeals to are the factual, undisputed record books and team rosters of the time frames in question. I agree with his thesis. How can anyone not? Charlie Strong clearly inherited much less than Mack Brown did and Mack did leave the program in shambles. Forget the underclassmen that left or were booted from the program for a second. UT DID NOT HAVE A SINGLE PLAYER DRAFTED IN 2014. The lack of talent among the upperclassmen tells you right where the team was at and was headed under Mack and the blame rests solely on him. Does that mean that I think Strong > Mack? No. That remains to be seen. But facts are facts. Hook ’em.

        • Benito Camela

          I think Chris is arguing the same point you are. He’s on your side.

          • Michael Russell

            I disagree with Chris on how he classified the article on the Logic spectrum. It’s a nerdy, philosophical thing.

          • Chris

            might want to familiarize yourself with how threaded comments work. I was replying to Joe Smith’s ad hominem attack on the author of the article.

          • Michael Russell

            Thanks for schooling me. Could have done without the chastisement though (sniff)

          • Joe Smith

            Why is there an argument? Its an opinion, grow up!!

          • Benito Camela

            Why are you asking me? I’m not the one brought up the notion of it being an argument.

            Also, you do know that civilized adults can have an argument and make arguments to support their points, right? You’re aware of the various definitions of the word, or aren’t you?

        • John Lowe

          UT DID NOT HAVE A SINGLE PLAYER DRAFTED IN 2014. And yet Mack Brown still won 8 games with that senior class – something Strong has yet to do at Texas.

          • Michael Russell

            So your argument is that the author of this piece is off of his rocker and that Strong, in fact, inherited a team that was just as talented as the one Mack inherited? I suppose that you also disagree that the program was in disarray and that there was a lacsidaisical, entitlement culture on the team that Mack left for Charlie to fix? Again, I’m not one to argue that Charlie > Mack. Mack did so much for Texas and has one of the best all-time winning records in CFB history along with a NC. However, to deny the facts laid out in this article is short-sighted and indicative of someone with a bias.

          • John Lowe

            No – my argument is with you. I do not dispute what Mack inherited was better than what he left behind but, to say that the program was in disarray is an overreach. Was there an element of entitlement? Probably (especially amongst the fan base). Was there recruiting failures? Definitely at QB. These were issues that dozens of other top programs faced as well. UT was competing for conference championships until the last game of the season and going to bowl games. Gutting the program was the biggest failure.

          • Michael Russell

            The Manny Diaz hire/fiasco alone earns the title disarray for the last few years of the Mack era. UT was not in the running for anything the year we did not qualify for a bowl game one year toward THE END of his watch, even though we were loaded with blue chip talent. Mack was done based on those reasons and more. The fact that he went out with an 8-5 record in his final season doesn’t negate the disarray and trajectory of the program. So, of the players who Strong “gutted” from the roster, which one(s) have moved on to greener pastures? Strong may not be the long term answer, but neither was Mack.

          • John Lowe

            Yeah, I will give you the Manny Diaz fiasco. I was not referring to Strong “gutting” the program. I was referring to firing Mack Brown while he was still competitive and bringing in an all new staff that has failed to produce anything worth getting excited about. At least the last 3 years of the Brown era, I had some hope of a respectable season. I completely dispute that the “trajectory” of the program was headed in the wrong direction. I just don’t see Mack Brown losing like this year. Plus you just made my argument for me – “even though we were loaded with blue chip talent”. The “empty cupboard” argument is overblown.

          • Michael Russell

            I misunderstood what you communicated about gutting the program. I am just as frustrated as you are, John. I also remember being frustrated with Mack and crew for poor player evaluation and poor player development, especially at QB, that led to us underachieving year in and year out after the 2009 season. I don’t know that Strong is the long term answer, but I like the change and I especially like the new OC and Oline coaching hires. I am also optimistic about Strong possibly pulling off another coup in recruiting this year, especially with College Station in such a mess. Your quotation of my comment regarding the Blue Chip talent that we had under Brown was misinterpreted. I was referring to the talent that we had on hand for the NC run in 2009, which deteriorated after that season. During 2010 we still had studs who, properly coached, should have garnered more than a 5-7 season and no bowl game…especially following a year in which we made it to the NC game. This article is spot on. By the time Strong came to town the program was in disarray–or at the very least it was much worse than what Mack inherited, which led to his early success. Strong didn’t get the luxury of a head-start from Mack like the latter got from Makovic. Hook ’em

    • Derek Jude Tallman

      A “restaurant reviewer”? He was a music critic for years (his family has strong roots in the music scenes here and in Nashville), and his sports knowledge is pretty good. Also, he’s a Texas grad, and actually has a rooting interest here, he isn’t some random dude just making noise.

      What do you do for a living that makes you a football “expert”? Nothing John pointed out in the article is untrue, Brown’s last few years were a disaster, and the roster was full of prima donnas that had more ego than talent.

      I think you’re secretly Red, and you just don’t want some black dude running the program.

      • Michael Russell

        Lol

      • Joe Smith

        Did you even go to college let alone step foot on UT?

        • Derek Jude Tallman

          Please. Save it for someone else.

          • Joe Smith

            Guess not, I hear Academy is having 2 for 1 college T-shirts on sale after Christmas. You can buy any school you want, so you act like you know a program, before calling someone a racist.

          • Benito Camela

            So you’re an aggy. Figures. The “t-shirt fan” insult gave you away. Those of us who are alums of the University of Texas at Austin are very happy to know that people who never attended actually buy our merchandise and make the athletic department the richest in the country. Only a backwards aggroid would insult people who wear his school’s colors just because that person didn’t attend — the irony of the fact is that nobody who didn’t spend time in Collie Station would ever want to wear one of those ugly maroon shirts in the first place.

          • Derek Jude Tallman

            Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t graduate as I stumbled into a really good job, and RTF degrees sound cooler than, in turns out, they generally pay.

            So, insult away, I guess.

          • KevTuck

            It was great as an undergrad at UT….6 or 7 of the best years of my life.

          • Derek Jude Tallman

            Oh, you were serious. RTF, class of ’93, attended the 45-24 beatdown of UH that saved the NCAA a world of embarrassment.

            Worked delivering Gumby’s pizza and at Togo’s, used to hang out at the Backroom.

            Any other stupid questions?

          • Benito Camela

            Gumby’s and ‘Classics…man that brings back the memories.

          • Michael Russell

            Dude. How can you claim to be an alum, then post that you never graduated. You lost some credibility. It’s not a big deal that you didn’t graduate, but still…

        • Benito Camela

          I’m just waiting for you to tell us what the author got wrong in the article above. Please. Inquiring minds want to know what you do, but claim the author doesn’t know about the situation that Charlie Strong inherited at Texas and how it compares to what other coaches got.

          • Joe Smith

            No need to explain my position, your the one spewing the hate on anyone who “disagrees” with you. You also might want to visit Academy!!!

          • Benito Camela

            Spewing hate? Care to point out an example of “hate” that I’ve posted?

            What is your connection to UT? I sure hope you’re not a fellow alum because it frightens me to think that they let people who don’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re” graduate.

            Academy? You lost me there, buddy.

          • Benito Camela

            Says the guy who got his GED from Blinn but runs around on the Internet bragging that he went to aTm. LOL!!!

  • Hawker1

    UT Football will never be on top again until they put ol’ Jeff Davis back where he belongs. Things were bad enough without bringing that curse down on their pointy little heads.

    • Benito Camela

      Worry about your own program, aggy.

    • Michael Russell

      Are you talking about the statue of a Confederate that was removed from the UT campus and sent to either atm, Ole miss, or bama to adorn their Confederate-loving campuses? That was more a sign of enlightenment and progress than a curse. Perhaps you think another failed oppressor of the people of Texas, like Santa Anna, should also have a statue on campus? No thanks. You keep Jefferson Davis.

  • LicketySplit

    You are pulling for aTm……right…amiright?

  • Cody Quillin

    I rarely rake on UT, in fact never except I am not a fan. But this is a crappy article and I am coming from an angle you would never expect. UT and A&M are land grant colleges, what this means is they get and give benefits beyond anyones desires. UT and A&M are benefactors of the UT lands program. You may or may not of heard of it but when the great state of Texas was in the beginning stages the land grant schools were benefactors of minerals aka oil/gas/mining etc…The majority of this in the oil/gas rich area of the Permian Basin. Guess what they have richest resource in recruiting ever and that is oil/gas bonuses and mineral leases for the last few years, just bonuses what an oil/gas company will pay to lease lands to drilll has been in the 100s of millions not drilling a well at all. Then if a company drills a well it pays UT lands a %. This is the greatest recruiting tool in the world. By not a little, alot. UT and A&M should be the top 2 programs in the USA and play for a national championship ever year. But instead they want to play chess and get out recruited by guess who? OU and guess what OU is a land grant college in OK, along with OSU. This story is ridicuous and the schools that beat the two land grant schools are privately funded TCU and Baylor. So what this means to me is that Strong either is not a good enough coach to keep what Mac Brown had coming in or he is just a bad coach…Mac Brown is regarded as the top recruiter in the country. He did win a national championship…

    • Michael Russell

      I enjoyed the information that you shared. However, there seems to be a glaring flaw in your logic: what does being a land grant school and having a lot of money as a result have to do with football recruiting or football success? Are you assuming that a dime of it goes to athletes? Are you suggesting that UT illegally pays student-athletes with land grant money and that is why we should win every year. NCAA bylaws and probably state legislation prevent such things. Where does the money go then? Here is a guess: First, you forget that UT is the largest school SYSTEM in the world (not counting lower tier jokes like U of Phoenix) complete with 3, soon to be 4, top-tier medical schools and highly ranked undergrad, grad, and professional schools at the flagship campus in Austin. All of those facilities, as well as satellite campuses, require money to build, maintain, and expand. Not to mention the high salaried professors needed to staff the Austin campus, medical schools, and satellite campuses. Being the biggest and one of the best public, academic institutions costs money. I don’t pretend to know exactly how UT spends its money, but the theory that I just laid out seems much more logical then your notion of UT having an arsenal of money at its disposal to spend on athletics, recruiting, and winning. If your theory had ANY substance to it you would be right, we would and should be #1 every year. Instead, our athletics programs rely on ticket sales, merchandising sales, LHN money, Big 12 money, and donations from boosters/alumni to make things happen–JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER UNIVERSITY, PUBLIC OR PRIVATE, IN THE COUNTRY. What helps us raise more money and potentially be more successful on the field than others is having: a great mascot/brand (and as a result a huge fan base), an enormous alumni, Austin being a large, culturally diverse and progressive city, and being smack dab in the middle of the most fertile high school football programs in the country. Those are the reasons that we should be contending most years.

      • cwyoung

        Although I agree with your general point, one of your “facts” is pointedly incorrect. Hate to break it to you, but UT is not even close to being the largest school SYSTEM in the world. California has two systems larger: The Cal State University system has more than twice the students at 23 schools, and it is totally separate from the UC system, which has more students than the entire UT system at 4 fewer locations (a half dozen of which are higher rated than the Austin flagship of UT).

        • Michael Russell

          CW- Thank you for the correction. I have made an edit in my post accordingly.

          • cwyoung

            My pleasure and thank you. My facts come from probably the most widespread, recognized college rankings being referred to these days: the US News & World Report- National Research University rankings: 20-UC Berkeley, 23-UCLA, 37-UC Santa Barbara, T39-UC Irvine, T39-UC San Diego, 41-UC Davis, T52-UT Austin. And, of course, that doesn’t count the private heavyweights T4-Stanford, T23-USC and even Pepperdine, tied with UT at 52. Say what you will about California, but they have by far the best system of universities in the world.

          • Michael Russell

            Where did you say you live? Is it Texas, by chance?

          • cwyoung

            Well, maybe I ought to take back my thanks if that’s the attitude you want to take. There is nothing wrong with UT Austin and I agree it is highly ranked, but the Texas Braggadocio gets a little tiresome sometimes, and I think we would all be better off to realize there are other great schools out there as well and not be so provincial. I have lived in Texas for over 32 years, BTW, but as my kids have reached college age, we have done a lot of research into colleges and rankings.

          • Michael Russell

            Sorry, Señor Sensible. If it’s tiresome then why are you reading a story ABOUT UT football IN Texas Monthly?? Your comment was still unnecessary because I never said that UT or Texas is better than UC or California. Do you get that, snob?

          • cwyoung

            Why the name calling? I am a fan of Big 12 football, so I’m interested. Is that okay with you?

          • Michael Russell

            Provincial? Nice jab, snob. Sorry that your kids can’t get into UT. I hear the community colleges in California are awesome, too.

          • cwyoung

            Automatic admit, thank you very much.

          • Michael Russell

            That sounds a little highbrowed there, CW. It also sounds like you, dare I say, are proud that your kids can get into UT.

          • cwyoung

            Sure I am; who wouldn’t be? Nothing I have said here today has disparaged UT. I am just mystified you want to take this to some dark place of conflict between us.

          • Michael Russell

            Nothing disparaging? Right. It is very braggadocious and provincial of me to say UT is one of the best without mentioning that there are schools in California that are better. Got it.

        • Michael Russell

          You mean UT flagship in Austin, right? What you wrote is like saying the Los Angeles flagship of UC, genius.

          • cwyoung

            That makes no sense; or are you suggesting that the Austin Campus of UT isn’t the flagship?

          • Michael Russell

            No I corrected you. Someone as educated as you pretend to be would get that written properly it should read “the Austin campus is the flagship of UT”. English lesson over. Haha

          • cwyoung

            They do teach English at UT, don’t they? There is nothing incorrect,in that sentence, about saying the Austin flagship of UT. What doesn’t make sense is how you want me to say it: “a half dozen of which are higher rated than the Austin campus is the flagship of UT.”

          • Michael Russell

            Wow

        • Michael Russell

          CW- if you want to understand why I am wasting time sparring with you on Christmas Eve, go back and read the last sentence of your initial reply (the part in parenthesis). I never said that UT was the best or better than UC. I mistakenly wrote that the UT system was the biggest, which you called me out on, to which I acknowledged my error and edited my original post. Your comment in parenthesis was snobbish.

          • cwyoung

            Perhaps a little, but I was responding to your comment after that about how highly ranked UT was, with a put-down of another school. I was half expecting a “yeah, but the CA schools are “lower tier” response…” [not counting lower tier jokes like U of Phoenix, complete with three, soon to be four, top-tier medical schools and highly ranked undergrad, grad, and professional schools at the flagship campus in Austin.]

          • Michael Russell

            You were expecting that…that is why you wrote what you did, not because it was actually said. And if you consider the internet diploma-churning out business in Phoenix to be anything more than that, then we are clearly on different pages. Good day.

          • cwyoung

            No, of course I don’t, but you were bragging on UT’s rankings (not that I disagree with any of that), so I just wanted to point out that the CA schools I was speaking of were highly ranked as well.

        • Michael Russell

          Hey C-dubya. I deleted all of my responses to your attempts to divert attention away from the subject of this article and to the higher education system in the state of California. Merry Christmas

          • cwyoung

            Whatever, buddy. Merry Christmas to you as well.

    • Benito Camela

      Sorry, Cody. Can’t take anyone’s opinion on Texas Football seriously who: 1) Can’t use paragraph breaks, 2) Doesn’t even know how to spell Mack Brown’s name and; 3) Apparently didn’t watch Texas beat both OU and Baylor this year.

      Spare us your baseless, drawn out opinions.

    • KevTuck

      Right…UT’s woes are all about mineral rights.

  • DJ

    Wow, I don’t even comment on articles much, but I created an account just to respond to this crap. Clearly the author is an aggy or Sooner that would love Charlie Strong to stick around at UT for 10 more years. This article is disrespectful on so many levels, and the fact that that poor excuse for a defensive coordinator of UT would retweet this nonsense shows you how pathetic Strong and the people he has surrounded himself with are. They have excuses for days, yet I believe Strong’s motto this year was ‘No More Excuses.’ I also believe that it was Strong who said UT wouldn’t have a repeat performance of last year as that is not the standard here, well I guess he kept his promise since his team only won five games this year and not 6! I think Charlie Strong knew the talent level of the team when he made that promise. If it was so low, he should have kept his mouth shut.

    First, no matter how much talent is left by another coach, it still needs to be coached up. Secondly, Texas has had the top recruiting class in the Big 12 and one of top recruiting classes in the country for years now, so let’s not disrespect these young men or Coach Brown and act like he recruited a bunch of jags, when in fact he didn’t. Did Mack Brown get lazy in some evaluations the past few years, yes he did, but he still left enough talent on that team that they should have performed better than 6 -7 and 5-7.

    And for the record, no most UT fans were not expecting for Charlie Strong in year two to field a national championship team. Most also did not expect the pathetic performance like we saw against TCU. We also were not expecting to get shut out by Iowa Freaking State!!!! We were not expecting the “defensive guru” Charlie Strong and his sidekick Vance Bedford to field the worst defense in the history of the school. We were not expecting all the blow out losses that we have experienced under Charlie Strong. We were not expecting Charlie Strong to even hire Shawn Watson who was fired from two previous Big 12 schools, and we especially were not expecting him to keep him on his staff after that Arkansas game. We were not expecting Charlie freakin Strong to have to replace the majority of his staff already in year three. I could list Strong’s failures for days.

    Mack Brown has been gone for two years now. This mess isn’t on him anymore. It’s on Charlie Strong. He has no business being on the sideline as the head coach of the University of Texas. He is not an elite coach, and mark my words, UT will never win a national title with him as the head man. In fact UT won’t even sniff a Big 12 title. Usually with elite coaches, you can see improvement in by year two. Well, Charlie Strong’s team has done nothing but regress. That is all on him. So, hopefully the Big Money Donors at UT get their way in after 2016 and send him and his staff packing.

    • Chris

      “Usually with elite coaches, you can see improvement in by year two. Well, Charlie Strong’s team has done nothing but regress.”

      This is just not true. Perhaps you didn’t really watch the games that closely, but there was a lot of improvement, especially when you account for the lack of upperclassmen talent. The defense lost almost all of it’s playmakers and both sides of the ball were relying on the incredibly talented freshman class that Strong identified and recruited. There were ups and downs as there would be with any young team, and the offensive staff (outside of Traylor) was found wanting, which is usually any defensive coach’s achilles heel.

      Next year is going to be the make or break year for Coach Strong. He’s recruited talent across the board and should be average to above average everywhere except QB. If Gilbert can find a QB then I think you’ll be proven quite wrong.

      • Benito Camela

        Agree and disagree. It’s not just talent needed, it’s depth. If Ridgeway comes back he’s got one or two DL, but no depth at all for that position.

        • Chris

          We’ll have 3-4, but it’s a good point. Depth is what makes a good team into a contender. We’re not there yet. Still paying the price for Mack not taking a single DL in 2013.

    • Benito Camela

      TLDR

      Strong deserves as many years as Mackovic or McWilliams got. Period.

  • Chris

    Hmm, lot of commenters don’t know much about football I guess. The article makes some good points that a lot of people probably don’t want to hear. Many fans were spoiled by Browns success and didn’t pay attention to the reasons for his decline.

    I think maybe the article glosses over some of the fault that can be placed on Coach Strong for all the dismissals, but make an interesting point that none of those players that were dismissed are lighting it up anywhere else currently. I think they were also hurt by not getting USC grad transfer QB Max Wittek in to back up David Ash which would probably have let to an extra win or two.

    I think the worst you can lay at Coach Strong’s feet is how he bungled the offensive staff. There were some reports that Patterson wouldn’t pay the money to go get Chad Morris which would have been a good choice for OC, but Strong fell into the trap so many other defensive minded head coaches have fallen into; that they don’t know what to do with the other side of the ball.

    Getting that part right with Sterlin Gilbert will make or break Strong’s time here. Should he be forced out, the update to this article will show the next coach will inherit talent much closer to what Mackovic left Mack Brown than what Brown left Charlie Strong.

    • wessexmom

      Would you have preferred he kept the two rapists on the team?

      • Chris

        no, though they weren’t convicted, but with stuff like that who can know guilt? I was just pointing out that there was some talent left behind by Coach Brown that Coach Strong felt he had to kick off the team. The view then being either Strong is too strict, or Brown was too lax and unable to instill a tough non-coddled attitude in his players.

        • If these guys were so talented why haven’t they excelled elsewhere?

          Mack was a great guy but the last few years he wasn’t trying very hard to recruit – he rested on his reputation and became too lax in discipline. That became more and more apparent not just in recruiting but in performance.

          I’m a lukewarm UT fan at best and one of their biggest problems is too much ego and not enough pragmatism. Their next biggest problem, that is the bane of many big football schools, is that the wealthy alumni have far too much influence over decisions that are best left to university officials.

          • Benito Camela

            Well let’s hear those pragmatic suggestions, Shelly. You said it, so you must have SOME suggestions.

            We can agree on the boosters. Now if only they’d let Charlie Strong try to fix the program.

    • Benito Camela

      Dude, why are you “liking” your own comments?

  • Michael Russell

    Great read. Well researched and written based on facts. Thank you. However, the real question, which is beyond the scope of this article, is: who is the better coach, Brown or Strong? The verdict is still out in my opinion. If Strong can pull in a solid recruiting class and win at least 7 games next year, I think he keeps his job and gets a chance to do more. Then, maybe, a discussion about who is the best coach can be started, assuming Strong can win a NC.

  • 7skuareoff

    If the woman in Vegas were white, would the liberal media be
    making excuses for her? Nobody made excuses for Mack
    Brown. If Charlie Strong were white, would the racist
    liberal media be making excuses for him?
    Not a chance.

    • Michael Russell

      Quite a grasp on the situation you have there, 7. I am not saying that Strong is better than Brown, but do you not agree that Brown inherited more than Strong? A lot more?? No one is making excuses here. Just putting things into historical perspective. Now, tell the truth…you didn’t like the Strong hire from the get go because of his race, did you? Your comment says it all, dude.

      • Benito Camela

        You’re wasting your time with that one. Clearly the only reason Charlie Strong is still employed, shortly after his second season of rebuilding is the racist liberal media making excuses for him. I thought that was obvious to everyone.

        • Michael Russell

          Lol

    • Benito Camela

      Did somebody forget to take their medication today?

      • 7skuareoff

        I know you did, obviously not a strong enough dose.

        • Benito Camela

          While you’re hanging around, would you enlighten us on some more non sequitur conspiracy theories that are completely unrelated to Texas football? Let me have a go at it:

          If Saddam Hussein was white, the liberal media wouldn’t have made excuses for him and Charlie Strong would have won a NC at Louisville so Texas would have been forced to hire Nick Saban instead.

          • Joe Smith

            Please enlighten us on what your connection is to UT?

          • Benito Camela

            Aww, how cute. You can’t answer a question regarding your accusation that the author doesn’t know anything about a topic that you pretended to have knowledge on, so you pivot completely away from the subject. When you tell me what you think the author got wrong, we can exchange stories about our connections to Texas, deal?

          • Joe Smith

            Aww, how cute, right back at you and you must have a crush on the author to defend him so much.

          • Benito Camela

            I happen to agree with the original author’s well thought out and presented points, aggy. You’re the one who claimed he doesn’t know anything about football, but then failed to make any statements indicating that you actually do or indicating that anything the author said was false.

            Nice try. Collie Station gets boring this time of year with all the kiddos home for the holidays, so we forgive you.

          • Joe Smith

            WOW!!!! You are so smart, that’s right, I am an Aggie (chuckling hard). They should give you a gold star for being an ACC graduate!!!
            And because you are so smart, you would know that I don’t have to justify an opinion I made on a post to a complete and utter stranger. The only reason I responded to you is that I reviewed your responses to other people and you asked everyone to justify their position. Its a bulletin board, get over it!!!

          • Benito Camela

            So you’re a t-shirt aggy, huh? The only one of your kind, I’m guessing. LOL

            What is your connection to aTm? I bet you didn’t even attend or graduate.

            Look, dude – if you’re going to insult someone’s profession, you should be prepared to offer up at least some facts to support your point. Saying the guy is a “restaurant reviewer” and that he knows nothing about football means you better start demonstrating some knowledge of football yourself. So far you’re only demonstrating bored aggroid trollery.

            Even funnier, you ask people what their connection is to UT Austin and then you claim that you don’t have to answer to anyone when they ask you questions. Typical aggroid behavior. And stop telling lies. You’re the only person I asked any questions of. The stuff right here above was a rhetorical question, but I guess you don’t learn that stuff at Blinn.

            Hey tell me this – if I went to an Academy in say, Minnesota, would I find any Texas A&M apparel? NOPE! Ha ha! But they do stock Longhorns merchandise!! So hilarious how jealous and hateful it makes you guys to know that you don’t have any t-shirt fans.

          • Joe Smith

            OMG…your killing me that you actually wrote a multiple paragraph response on a Texas Monthly story. You are too funny!!!

          • Benito Camela

            It took me about 15 seconds. I type real fast like. Your [sic] so funny!

          • Michael Russell

            Lol

    • Michael Russell

      CNN, your favorite news source no doubt, reported that the woman did it on purpose. No liberal racist bias by the country’s go-to liberal rag. So, there goes your conspiracy theory, not that it was remotely relevant to this story to begin with.

  • Michael Russell

    STRONG > Stumblin

  • David Weinberg

    Texas convincingly beat the possible national champion this year in Oklahoma but also couldn’t get to 6 wins. I think the biggest factor here is inconsistency in play and preparedness, particularly at the QB position in the post- Colt McCoy era. But we can keep talking about Mac Brown.

  • JL Todd

    It is true that Texas didn’t have much NFL level talent when Strong took over the program. And some of that is Mack Brown’s fault. But as someone follows recruiting closely, if Mack Brown and his staff were wrong with their talent evaluations, then EVERYONE was wrong. These recruiting classes were ranked high or relatively high by all the experts and most, if not all, of their recruits had offers from other big time programs.

    Whether it was bad luck, or whatever, everyone felt positive about these Texas recruiting classes. They just didn’t work out as they had projected.

    However, Strong’s 1st true recruiting class is one of the best ever at Texas. It is hard watching the program struggle, but Strong is turning it around and doing it the right way: with high character athletes that work hard for what they get. Give him at least two more years.

    • DS

      I agree with most of this. One thing that did happen with Mack’s rankings of his classes were that he got most of his commits during the kid’s junior years. Some of those kids went up in rankings because UT took them. Also, some didn’t get any better their senior year, but Mack stuck with the commitment. Then, a combination of entitlement, lack of development, program getting huge and sometimes bad luck = team record getting worse and hardly anyone getting drafted.

      When you don’t have any offensive lineman drafted for years at this level, no QB has much chance to succeed.

      Given time with mostly his players, Charlie will succeed.

      • MO

        As a Buckeye living in Austin since ’98, the O-Line comment pretty much sums it up, it’s hard to expect your skill position players to shine when the O-Line can’t dominate at least parts of the game. The by-product of that is a defense that spends too much time on the field, negating the small advantages they may have had from a talent & scheme perspective.