DALLAS ‒ Texas’ Charlie Strong attended his first Big 12 Media Days on Tuesday and his message was simple: The Longhorns’ new and improved attitude should lead to a different team.
“Within our program, we know this: that we have to continue to get better, some areas that we have to improve on,” Strong said. “I just know this: Just from their attitude right now, I think that we're going to find us a different football team.”
The Longhorn mentality has been completely changed under Strong as he’s committed to “putting the ‘T’ back in Texas” and changing the players’ attitudes within the program.
“We talk about putting the T back into Texas, you talk about toughness, you talk about trust, talk about togetherness, and you talk about just becoming a team,” Strong said. “You can never have become a team until you have some toughness.”
Strong has made an effort to build a new culture at Texas. He has made it mandatory for football players to live on campus unless they’re seniors and meet certain qualifications in order bring the team together. Strong has also instituted his core values, which include honesty, treating women with respect, no drugs, no stealing and no guns. The new coach has made it clear that violating these rules is the easiest way to get kicked off the team.
As Strong has worked to change Texas’ culture, the players have noticed the difference their new coach brings to the table.
“Coach Strong — he just came in and took stuff away that we took for granted,” senior defensive end Cedric Reed said. “He took away stuff as a discipline thing. I think that mentally made us tough.”
Along with changes in the program’s culture, Strong has made changes to the way Texas has practiced, all in an attempt to return the Longhorns to their former glory.
“We’ve got the attitude, and you adjust so we get back to those days where we win 11 games,” senior center Dom Espinosa said. “None of us have done those things over the past four years so it’s something we want to get done this year, so attitude changed quickly.”
Strong and the Longhorns will look to continue improving when fall camp begins August 4.
“It's going to be very challenging,” Strong said. “But we're looking forward to it. But what's really great is I don't have to start that season tomorrow. I have some time. I'm looking forward to that time.”