The 2014 college football season is set to kick off in just about four weeks for the Texas Longhorns with new Head Coach Charlie Strong leading the way. If there were any questions about whether there would be a change of culture with Coach Strong those questions have been answered loud and clear.
Over the past week Coach Strong has dismissed six student-athletes. Longhorns’ safety Josh Turner, defensive back Chevoski Collins, and running backs Jalen Overstreet and Joe Bergeron were the four most recent to be dismissed from the team.
The dismissals haven’t been made official as of yet and there was reportedly a meeting between Coach Strong and the reportedly dismissed players Monday, July 28. It is unclear as to whether or not the student-athletes will have a way to earn their way back onto the team, but the meeting with Coach Strong should clear some of those issues up.
These four dismissals came days after Texas wide receivers Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander were kicked off the team following arrests for sexual assault charges. All six of the student-athletes that have been kicked off the team had prominent roles with the team, including Josh Turner being the projected starting safety in 2014.
All of these dismissals show two things for the Texas Longhorns’ football program. First, Head Coach Charlie Strong is making a statement and making one early. He has started to get used to his players and now knows who belongs in his program and who doesn’t. He is holding his word that he will change the culture of Texas and put the “T” back in Texas. This “T” stood for toughness and he is certainly doing that by laying down a tough no nonsense attitude in the football program.
The second thing these dismissals show is that the previous regime at Texas under former Head Coach Mack Brown had indeed lost control of this team and program. After seeing how Coach Strong has came in and noticed right away the issues and trouble spots on the roster, in terms of off the field issues, it makes you wonder just how little control Coach Brown had his past few seasons as head coach of Texas.
In terms of on the field performance all these dismissals could cause serious problems for Texas in 2014. The Longhorns already have a tough schedule and have to get adjusted to a new coaching staff, but now since the Longhorns are losing key players left and right due to off the field issues the challenge only gets tougher.
These dismissals are obviously not for the short term stability of the program, but rather for the future to show that Texas will be a contender and that they will do it the right way. The Longhorns will have depth issues in 2014 because of these dismissals, assuming they do not return, which will make the possibility of injures even more of a concern.
These dismissals are obviously more than football related, but rather to get these student-athletes’ lives back on track. Coach Strong is watching out for the goodwill of the six players who have been dismissed and try to get them some help so that they become great citizens after their football careers are done.
The future could be very bright for Texas if this pays off for Coach Strong and Texas. There is a risk in doing this type of thing however for Strong and the Longhorns. If the Longhorns and Coach Strong win and have success on the field this no tolerance and tough loving policy will do wonders for Texas, but if Texas has multiple losing seasons these tough rules will fall upon death ears.
The tough conduct code of Coach Strong could wear old fast and could be a turnoff to recruits knowing that if they make one little mistake they will be dismissed. True, you always want your players to do the right thing, but remember these kids are 18 to 22 and do make mistakes like everyone else.
They are held to a higher standard, but if it becomes an issue where one little mistake gets them kicked off the team that will turn away a lot of recruits. Coach Strong has a great reputation in doing things the right way, so I don’t believe that will ever become an issue.
The Charlie Strong era in Texas is officially underway after seeing all of these dismissals take place. It is great to see him doing the right thing and truly being a man of his word and changing the culture at Texas that has been tarnished the past few years. Texas will be better off in the long run because of this, but they will have to learn to accept the early struggles while this transaction period is in progress.
Texas will be back and step one in that process has been implemented by Coach Strong and his coaching staff. It is clear to see that for the entire football roster that the eyes of Texas and the eyes of Head Coach Charlie Strong are truly upon you.