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"Is this the best you can play? And is this the best I should expect every game?"
"You work for what you get," Diggs says. "That's the way life is. In life, you're never gonna be given something. You're always gonna have to work for it. I think that's something that we took for granted ?? we're given a lot at Texas."
It was, as senior center Dominic Espinosa put it, yet another "reality check" in an ongoing series. But he says Strong's approach is working.
T for Texas has double meaning for Charlie Strong
Since taking the job last January, Strong has been careful to say all the right things about former coach Mack Brown. Tuesday, he called Brown an icon, alluded to the Longhorns' 2005 run to the BCS national championship and said, "the foundation has been laid. It's up to us to continue to build on it."
"You've seen us play," he says a reporter. "You think we're gonna win one this year?" And a moment later, he adds: "Just look at the tape."
It's mental toughness, too. For a time, Strong prohibited the Longhorns from flashing the familiar "Hook 'Em" hand signal, saying they had to earn the right. He also required them to be early for classes, and to sit in the front row, with correct posture ?? and then he regularly checked their attendance himself. He has temporarily banned some players from the locker room when he determined they weren't living up to the standards.
starters (six offense, seven defense) from a team that finished 8 5. And although the Longhorns were mathematically in the race for the Big 12 championship deep into November, the undeniable truth was they only faintly resembled the Top 10 teams Brown had built only a few years earlier.
Last April, Strong made waves, while kicking off the "Comin' on Strong" offseason speaking tour at an event in Fort Worth, when he answered a fan's question about expectations for the 2014 season.
The 2014 nonconference schedule includes BYU and UCLA. Texas was picked to finish fourth in the Big 12 by league media, behind Oklahoma, Baylor and Kansas State. The Longhorns begin preseason practices next month with significant questions to answer at quarterback, along the offensive line and at linebacker.
After spring practice had ended, while his assistants were out recruiting in May, Strong reviewed the film from the 2013 season, then called in the players one by one for some quick film review of their substandard performances.
Toughness ?? do you have it?
DALLAS The meetings lasted less than 10 minutes. When a player entered the head coach's office, Charlie Strong had two questions:
says. "You talk about toughness, you talk about trust, you talk about togetherness and you talk about just becoming a team."Strong, whose roots are as a no nonsense defensive coordinator, arrived in Austin after rebuilding Louisville into a BCS level contender. When he immediately made wholesale changes to the Texas strength and conditioning staff, it was only the start. The power of positive thinking has not been a point of emphasis.
"We have everything available, and I don't know why we can't be successful," Strong said, as recounted by the Austin American Statesman. "There's no reason for us not to be. Now, I can't tell you how soon it's going to be. Don't hold me to that. Don't say, 'Oh, coach said next year we'll be in the national?' We will not be in the national championship game."
"It wasn't a real complicated meeting, at all," senior running back Malcolm Brown says. "It was real simple. It was real fast."
Strong says now he was referring to what he'd seen from the Longhorns at that point, after they had completed spring practice. Whatever he meant, the comment raised eyebrows, even as it shouldn't have ?? Texas is not a national contender.
But since Texas played in the BCS title game after the 2009 season, the program had slipped several notches. The trend was downward. And it's pretty clear Strong is laying a brand new foundation. On Tuesday, he reiterated something he's said often during offseason speaking engagements:
A new era is unfolding at Texas. A new coach has brought a new philosophy, and the approach is anything but touchy feely. At the risk of oversimplifying, Saucony Blue And Red it can be distilled to:
"We might have thought the idea of 'tough' was Saucony Mirage 5
During spring practices, the Longhorns walked a half mile every day from the locker room to the practice fields, and then walked back afterward. Under Brown, they'd routinely bused to and from the workouts.
"When people talk about toughness, it's not physically where you're always trying to beat them down," he says. "It's a toughness to just go do the right thing. . Just go do the little things."
"It's all about putting a 'T' back into Texas," Strong Reebok Lifters 3.0
different than what we think now," Espinosa says. "We know (now) we can push further and further and get to a different type of 'tough."Will the approach translate into wins? It would probably be wise not to expect too much from 2014. Texas returns 13 Saucony Shoes Review
Asked what's tougher now than before, senior cornerback Quandre Diggs says: "Everything."
"I'd just say, 'If this is you, let me know,' " Strong says. "They'd walk out of the room with their head down."
Then he pressed play. A brief lowlight reel unfolded: Ten plays, or maybe 15, culled from last season and tailored to each player's performance. When the action on the screen ended, so did the meeting.
If there's an overarching immediate priority for Strong, that's it. As the 2014 college football season approaches, it's difficult to figure out what we should expect from Texas. The easy preseason picks in the Big 12 are Oklahoma or Baylor, and then everybody else. Where Texas fits isn't certain. But if Strong has his way, the program will no longer be called soft.
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