Big 12 media days: Texas-sized expectations excite Charlie Strong
July 23, 2014 12:00 AM
Associated Press Photo
Texas head coach Charlie Strong, left, signs footballs for Peter Irwin at the Big 12 Conference NCAA college football media days Tuesday in Dallas.
By Stephen J. Nesbitt / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
DALLAS — Six months after he was hired to replace legendary coach Mack Brown, there’s still plenty Charlie Strong doesn’t know about the daily rigors of life as head football coach at the University of Texas. But of one thing, he is certain.
“I know this,” Strong said Tuesday. “I followed an icon in coach Brown — 16 seasons at the University of Texas, did an unbelievable job, won a national championship. The foundation has been laid. Now it’s up to us to build on it.”
It’s still early, but Strong is beginning to settle into his new role in Austin, Texas. He was brought aboard in January on a five-year contract after leading Louisville to a 12-1 season and 36-9 win against Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
Strong, who won two national championships as an assistant at Florida, hopes to use his championship pedigree to revitalize a proud program that hasn’t reached the 10-win mark since 2009 — the Longhorns had double-digits win totals in the previous nine seasons.
“We never talked about going and winning a national championship [at Florida],” Strong said. “Because you know what happens? One day you wake up, you’re the national champion.
“The mission here is very simple. It will never change. We will make sure we graduate our young men. We want to make sure we go compete for championships, but we want to make sure they become a better person than they were when they came into the program.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops offered high praise for Strong, the lone newcomer in the Big 12 coaching ranks.
“I think Charlie’s a great coach,” Stoops said. “He’s an excellent person. We’ve really enjoyed the times I have been around him, so I’ve got to be careful. I can’t wish him too much luck, but I know he’ll do a great job and he’s a great coach.”
Horned Frog in hot water
TCU coach Gary Patterson gave a lukewarm assessment Monday of his star defensive end Devonte Fields, who was named preseason Big 12 defender of the year, and now it’s clear why.
Fields is a suspect in a domestic disturbance that occurred Sunday morning in Fort Worth, Texas. A Fort Worth Police Department report, filed by Fields’ ex-girlfriend Haley Brown, claims Fields punched out a window and pointed a gun at Brown, yelling, “I should blast you!”
Tuesday morning, TCU announced Fields was separated from the university pending results of the investigation.
No love lost
Stoops said Oklahoma is seeking an NCAA waiver to allow quarterback Baker Mayfield, a transfer from Texas Tech, to be immediately eligible this season.
Mayfield started seven games last season as a walk-on, was named Big 12 freshman of the year and then announced his intent to transfer to Oklahoma.
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury blocked his transfer (“Team policy,” Kingsbury said Monday. “That’s it. The NCAA has the in-conference policy for a reason.”) and Mayfield was forced to join Oklahoma for spring camp as a walk-on. Without a waiver, he will not be eligible to play this fall.
When asked what type of guy Oklahoma is getting in Mayfield, Texas Tech senior linebacker Sam Eguavoen shrugged.
“I don’t know how else to put it,” Eguavoen said. “He left Tech and went to Oklahoma. You tell me what type of guy that is.”
Big 12 director of officials Walt Anderson spent a half hour walking media through examples of the targeting rule put in place last season.
In 2013, Division I players were flagged 92 times for targeting, though the ejection element was overturned in 32 cases, yet the 15-yard penalty was still enforced. This year, that penalty will also be erased if replay determines no foul occurred.
Stephen J. Nesbitt: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.
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