Takeaways From Charlie Strong’s Big 12 Media Day

Takeaways From Charlie Strong’s First Big 12 Media Day

The wait is over: David Ash will take snaps with the Longhorns’ first team offense when fall camp opens in August. Coach Charlie Strong, speaking at UT’s Big 12 media day Tuesday, named Ash, who received full medical clearance on Monday, to the No. 1 spot. In an ambiguous quote, Strong said that sophomore Tyrone Swoopes, who appeared in five games for the Horns last season and was seemingly in the running to start this season when Ash went down with a foot fracture in April, “will be given the opportunity to compete” for the backup spot with freshman Jerrod Heard.

Appearing with four Longhorn players at his side—center Dominic Espinosa, defensive end Cedric Reed, cornerback Quandre Diggs, and running back Malcolm Brown—Strong didn’t make any other major announcements beyond his starting QB, though he did have some notable quotes.

He praised his predecessor Mack Brown, saying, “I’m following an icon in Coach Brown. The foundation has been laid, now it’s up to us to build on that foundation.” When asked a question about racial factors pertaining to his new position at Texas, Strong said, “There’s tall shoulders that I stand on,” acknowledging those who have paved his way to UT. “It’s been a great opportunity. But it’s because of a lot of hard work from other people also.”

Strong addressed the hubbub from mid-April, when he told a Fort Worth crowd that UT would not win the national championship this year. According to the coach, this was during “phase two” of his plan, which occurred during spring practices. Downplaying this “controversial” statement, he said that this was very early in his five-phase process, and that, “We’re not as bad as we used to be.”

Strong also spoke about one of his motivational tactics. The Longhorn symbol on the locker-room floor will be roped off on every day except gameday, when players can gather around it. The obvious symbolism, which Strong has addressed in other ways previously, is that you earn your stripes in practice.

Diggs had some strong words of his own at media day, calling this year’s team and regime “New Texas.” The senior described previous Texas teams he’d been on as rostered with some players who didn’t have their hearts in it.

“That’s something that I’ve always sensed since I’ve been here: We had guys that just didn’t love football,” Diggs said on Tuesday. “If you don’t love football, you don’t need to be a part of this university or a part of this team.”

Diggs even wants to take a proactive approach, on a seek-and-destroy mission of sorts from inside the locker room, identifying and nixing players who aren’t in it for the right reasons (re: to win games).

“Heck, if it was up to me and Coach Strong asked me, I’d help him weed guys out,” Diggs said.

38 days until kickoff.

Image courtesy UT Athletics



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