Charlie Strong set the bar high for the future of Texas football in his introductory press conference Monday. His goal is simple: bring championships back to Austin.
There was no talk about being in the mix or 10-win seasons, only about winning championships. And that is exactly what Texas needs.
"We need to continue to build on the tradition and continue to lay that rock," Strong said Monday. "But it's all about championships in the end."
Mack Brown did a tremendous job in his 16 years leading the Longhorns. But he only brought three championships back to Austin—2005 Big 12 Championship, 2005 BCS National Championship and the 2009 Big 12 Championship. Meanwhile, rival Bob Stoops has brought eight conference titles and a national championship to Oklahoma in his 15 years as head coach of the Sooners.
"I told Coach Brown, 'I have always respected you over the years. I could remember coming here a few years ago and speaking at your clinic. I know you're a man of great integrity and a man of great character. What you have built here, I just want to build on it.
"'I always want you to feel like you're a part of this program. Any time you want to come to practice, you're always welcomed. Don't feel like you have to call me. Just show up, walk around and do whatever. You ran your program. And I have to run mine. And this has to be my program.' He said, 'Don't try to be like me. You are who you are because of what you have done. And just continue to be who you are.'"
The Longhorns' recent fall from grace ultimately led to Brown's resignation and a fresh, new start for Texas football. And the fresh start is going to come from a program rebuild structured around toughness.
"The mentality is always going to be a physical and mental toughness," Strong said. "You have to build your program on toughness. That's what successful programs do."
There are a lot of murmurs surrounding who's staying and who's going from the current Texas football staff, but the first hammer has dropped, and not surprisingly, it dropped on the strength and conditioning program.
"When you lose a football game I always say, 'How did we lose the game? Were we in shape? Were we tough enough?,'" Strong said. "Your program has to be built on toughness and it starts in the weight room. Through winter conditioning, through work during the summer, you have to make sure that's where the toughness is being built."
Texas strength and conditioning coach Bennie Wylie has been let go and will be replaced by former Louisville strength coach Pat Moorer.
Thanks Coach Brown for 3 great seasons! Good luck 2014 team, Coach Strong and Pat Moorer! Hook 'em! Jeremiah 29:11 pic.twitter.com/SAONLa0aLg— Bennie Wylie (@BennieWylieUT) January 7, 2014
Moorer is the definition of tough and could even be labeled as a little scary. If you don't know who Moorer is or what he is about, this video will answer all of your questions.
"The only thing I need to do is stand him up here because he never smiles," Strong said of Moorer. "He's very intimidating."
But the toughness Strong and Moorer expect will ultimately be determined by the Longhorns.
"I want to make sure when they (the players) leave here (Texas), they're a better person than when they came into this university," Strong said. "It's about the quality of life and it's about attitude. The attitude that they develop will be the attitude that changes this program. But they have to develop the right attitude."
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
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