For those who expected Texas to shoot right up to contention in the Big 12 and for the national title the moment Charlie Strong took over, his first season was a disappointment, and the second one should be as well, as all the hints point towards a painful rebuilding process for the massive and demanding program.
We told the older guys, ‘If we’re at the midpoint of camp and you’re in a dead-heat with freshman, we’re going to play the freshman. So you have to be head-and-shoulders above them to justify us keeping you in there along with the freshman. Because if you play the freshman, it’s an investment. You’re building for the future.
That quote from linebacker coach Brian Jean-Mary can mean a number of things. It might be a simple way of motivating the veterans on the team to step up their game in the early stages of the summer-fall camp, but it probably has another meaning, which is that those expecting the Longhorns to get close to winning the Big 12 for the first time since 2009 need to be a little bit more patient.
Charlie Strong did get Texas into a bowl game during his first year in Austin, but that ended in massive disappointment: A humiliating 31-7 loss to Arkansas in the Texas Bowl. There were other low points during the season, usually having to do with a dysfunctional offense, clearly showing that recruiting wise someone fell asleep over the last few years.
And when it comes to depth and talent all across the board, it usually takes two or even three years to get rid of the underperformers and undeserving players. It’s completely possible for a freshman to be better than someone with more experience than him, but when that happens, it usually means there’s some sort of lost class or wasted in this group, and with plans to give younger players more snaps and time on the field, the Longhorns are aiming for success in 2016, while hoping things don’t go too badly this season.