Texas head coach Charlie Strong dropped to 2-2 on the season after a loss to Oklahoma State. The Longhorns need to stop the bleeding.
Charlie Strong might not be on the hot seat, but athletic director Mike Perrin knows that Tom Herman is working wonders at Houston.
And that means Strong can’t afford too many more losses like the one on Saturday afternoon against Oklahoma State in Stillwater.
The No. 22 Longhorns lost 49-31 to the Cowboys, allowing Mason Rudolph to throw for 392 yards and three touchdowns. By halftime, the Cowboys quarterback had already passed for over 300 yards and the three scores, and he ran for another touchdown as the Pokes took a 37-25 lead. Oklahoma State had lost its previous eight home games to the ‘Horns, who fell to 2-2 after the setback in their Big 12 opener.
Texas will likely drop out of the Top 25 and must now get ready to play Oklahoma in Dallas next Saturday.
With the calendar just flipping to October, it’s a very critical time for the program in Austin.
Perrin was asked by Anwar Richardson of OrangeBloods.com about Strong’s job status after the game.
“We need to evaluate what happened here,” he said.
That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for a head coach who just a month ago was riding high after an exciting and emotional victory over Notre Dame. Texas had found its quarterback in Shane Buechele, and all was well in Austin. A Big 12 title and College Football Playoff spot were being discussed.
A lot can change in college football over the course of a month. Just ask Les Miles, who was dumped by LSU last weekend after his Tigers fell to Auburn on the road.
Perrin knows that the Bayou Bengals will most likely go hard after Herman, who has his Cougars unbeaten and in the College Football Playoff conversation after an opening win over Oklahoma. If he believes that Herman gives the Longhorns the best long-term stability, then a move to part ways with Strong is not out of the question.
First and foremost, Strong needs to re-evaluate things on defense. The Longhorns have given up 47 points to Notre Dame and 50 to Cal, and they allowed the Pokes to score 49 and pile up 555 yards of offense. Even with Malik Jefferson, the Longhorns couldn’t generate much pressure on Rudolph, and they allowed two touchdown passes of over 50 yards. This effort came after having an extra week to prepare for Mike Gundy’s team. That is not a good look.
The Longhorns are dealing with a young secondary, which is an issue that Notre Dame is trying to work through as well. Nonetheless, the schedule does not stop for injuries. At a major program such as Texas, fair or not, there is no excuse for not winning.
The arrival of Sterlin Gilbert helped the offense, Vance Bedford was brought back to run the defense despite the Longhorns finishing with a total defense that ranked No. 107 last season. That’s on Strong.
Strong showed the college football world that he can coach and put together very good defenses when he was at Louisville, but it is a “What have you done for me lately?” environment in big-time college athletics these days. So with Strong in his third season, consistent winning is mandatory.
It will be a big week in Austin as the ‘Horns prepare to face Baker Mayfield, Samaje Perine, Joe Mixon and Co. in the Red River Shootout. It will be a game that Strong can use to right the ship as conference play starts to heat up.
Or it can be a game that Perrin uses as an evaluation tool, perhaps believing that there is another head coach in that state that can do more with the Longhorns’ talent.