Texas Football: Longhorns Must Have Patience with Charlie Strong

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Texas Football: Longhorns Must Have Patience with Charlie Strong
Michael Thomas/Associated Press

Nearly six months have gone by since former Louisville head coach Charlie Strong was named the 29th head football coach for the Texas Longhorns. If the Longhorns faithful want Texas to return to the top of the college football ranks, they will have to give Strong time to do it the right way.

Only six months into the job, Strong has put together an entirely new staff, worked to build relationships with the team he inherited, kept the 2014 recruiting class intact and tried to make up ground in recruiting the 2015 class.

Add in his 12-city Comin' on Strong Tour, media obligations and speaking engagements with boosters and state high school coaches and Strong has been a very busy man.

Being the head football coach at a school like Texas requires a lot of obligations that ultimately take time away from the football field. This has been the case for Strong, and some fans may not be pleased with the results the Longhorns showed in the spring game and the lack of results seen in the 2015 recruiting class.

Rivals.com has Texas listed at No. 30 in its most recent 2015 recruiting team rankings—behind conference opponents TCU and West Virginia, and behind in-state rival Texas A&M, which is ranked No. 3 nationally.

The Texas and Texas A&M rivalry is still alive even though the Longhorns and Aggies no longer play each other on the football field, and it's no surprise that Texas fans are upset that the Aggies are stomping the Longhorns in the 2015 recruiting class.

One could argue the tables have turned since Texas A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC.

In just three years, the Aggies have averaged a No. 10 signing-class ranking, and the Longhorns' average places them at No. 15. If one were to factor in the unofficial 2015 class rankings, Texas A&M's average would be sitting around No. 9 and Texas' at No. 19.

Texas A&M gained a lot of momentum when it joined the SEC.

An upset over Alabama in year one and its second Heisman Trophy winner in school history allowed the momentum grew tremendously. In an anonymous survey of four Texas high school coaches, the general consensus was Texas A&M is the leading school in the state right now, according to William Wilkerson and Longhorn Digest.

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin deserves a lot of credit for turning around the Aggies' football program. But the Aggies' gain is not a product of something Strong has done wrong. What fans need to realize is the woes Strong is facing are not something he caused for himself, they're a sign of how bad things got under the previous regime.

A lot of attention follows the head coach of Texas.

As you can see from the images below, Strong has many more eyes on him in press settings at Texas compared to his time spent at Louisville. And it's no secret Strong currently lacks the shaking hands and kissing babies aspect of the job that Mack Brown did so well.

In a recent story, ESPN.com's Travis Haney wrote a scathing review of Strong's speaking abilities at a coaching clinic at Angelo State. Haney used quotes from unnamed coaches including one that stood out above the rest: "It made me miss Mack."

The irony of that quote is that a part of the reason Texas football has fallen behind Texas A&M is Brown's inability to keep up with the changing times of college football.

But the tables could very easily turn if Strong can put a winning product on the field—which is not something he has struggled with throughout his coaching history.

Strong did more with less during his time coaching at Louisville than what Brown did over the last four years. One could argue he is one of the best defensive minds in college football and a stellar talent developer.

As for 2015, Strong is trying to make up for lost time in a six-month period while Sumlin and other rival coaches have, roughly, had an 18-month head start recruiting the 2015 class.

Does that excuse the fact that Texas only has 10 verbal commits for the 2015 class? Not exactly, but it in no way means fans should give up on Strong and company.

Texas fans need to take a step back and realize that the change of regime is not something that will provide successful results overnight. It's a process that will take time and patience.

A word of advice: Wait and see what type of product Strong can put on the field before labeling him as unsuccessful.

 

Recruiting rankings courtesy of Rivals.com.

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.

Taylor Gaspar is Bleacher Report's featured columnist covering the Texas Longhorns. Follow Taylor on Twitter: @Taylor_Gaspar.

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