Texas Football: 5 Biggest Concerns Heading into the Offseason
Now that the Texas Longhorns have their guy in Charlie Strong, the entire focus shifts to the offseason.
Mack Brown had the Longhorns finish with at least four losses in each of the past four seasons, falling below the standard that he himself had established throughout his 16-year tenure.
With new blood being infused into the program with Strong's arrival, the future is—in a word—exciting.
That isn't to say the Texas program is without concern. Far from it.
In fact, some of the same issues that plagued the Longhorns for the past few seasons will likely re-emerge as critical fixes in order for Strong to establish some success down the road.
But what else is on the horizon for the Stronghorns?
Can Strong Deliver?
The forefront concern for everyone in the Texas camp is if Charlie Strong can deliver.
Strong is hardly the big-splash hire that many expected Texas AD Steve Patterson to make in the wake of Brown's resignation, but the former Louisville head coach may be the kick-start the Texas program needs.
Strong went 37-15 in his four years at Louisville, with a 23-3 mark in his past two. But will he continue his magic with the Longhorns?
The expectations will likely be higher and bordering on unfair for Strong, who served as Florida's defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer on both of the Gators' national championship teams.
The Big East/American Athletic Conference is probably a notch below the Big 12, but Strong is Texas' guy, and there is no turning back now.
With the onset of the offseason comes the onset of a new set of expectations, regardless of there being a new head coach.
But the fact that the Longhorns have brought in new head coaching blood can only stir the concoction that will be elevated expectations. It's Texas.
Should there be expectations? How high should they go? How much slack will Charlie Strong receive if the pieces don't quite fall into place early on?
Coming off of a season where the Longhorns faced issues at almost every position, whether it was injuries or sheer underperformance, how will that impact expectations?
What is there to expect? Texas is 31-20 over its past four seasons, and it will lose at least a baker's dozen of players through graduation and early NFL entrants, all the while ushering in a brand new head coach who may inherit some unfair pressure.
How patient can and will the Texas fanbase be?
A Strong Staff
Now that the head coaching search is over, the next few weeks will be all about filling out the staff.
Some of the current Texas staff may very well get an opportunity to stay, though it's unlikely for most.
What kind of team will Strong assemble, and will it be of a caliber that can wrangle up a Big 12 title sooner rather the later?
With Strong's no-nonsense approach and winning attitude, it seems a foregone conclusion that he will only surround himself with a staff as capable as he is.
The new general will need his lieutenants, and Strong will get to handpick his crew.
Teddy Bridgewater appears set to become the NFL's top draft pick in May, furthering Charlie Strong's impression in Texas, where good quarterback play has been missing since 2009.
Strong will walk into a quarterback room with veteran David Ash coming off of a lengthy concussion recovery, sophomore Tyrone Swoopes, who saw limited action in his first year, and true freshman Jerrod Heard, perhaps the most promising of the three.
With all three signal-callers having some dual-threat ability, the quality appears to be there, and now it is up to Strong and his staff to develop.
The cards have not been favorable for the Texas quarterbacks in recent seasons, and perhaps a new game, table, player and cards will allow for this new direction in Austin.
Strong is a defensive-minded head coach, perhaps one of the best in the country, so the concern can understandably shift to the offensive side of the football.
The Longhorns have several working pieces going on offense, including a running game that will likely be a focal point moving forward.
In the past four years, the Texas offense has seemingly been laying the groundwork, never quite getting its engines fully oiled up for the big payload.
Can Strong assemble the kind of offensive staff that can deliver on a group that is as filled with playmakers as the next?