NGSC Sports

How will Charlie Strong Rebuild the University of Texas?

 

Prior to Charlie Strong’s arrival, the University of Louisville posted a 4-8 record in 2009. The university would subsequently hire Strong, who went on to rebuild the Cardinals’ program. By the year 2012, the Cardinals were Big East Champions and Strong earned Big East Coach of the Year honors for the second time in his tenure at Louisville.

Strong will be asked to do much of the same as the newly appointed head coach of the University of Texas football team.

Strong was an integral part of Louisville’s meteoric rise to Big East champions, but how did he do it? Below we’ll explore a list of values that have helped him achieve success to this point and strategies he’s already implemented at Texas.

 

Discipline

Charlie Strong coached teams are detail oriented and possess exceptional discipline. Louisville football with Strong at the helm was predicated on the five core values listed below.

[airesizeimg src=”http://ngscsports.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Charlie-Strong-Values$-225×300$.jpg” alt=”Charlie Strong Values” class=”alignnone size-medium wp-image-5375″ ]

Though one might laugh and dismiss the core values as common sense, it’s important to remember: these programs deal with young men coming from all walks of life. Sometimes it’s important to spell out the obvious so there is absolutely no gray area.

Strong was very invested in his players’ academic performance and wanted to make certain they were putting their best foot forward in the classroom as well. Players who had a GPA below 2.7 were required to attend study hall during the week.

Teachers were encouraged to contact the coaching staff if the players were disruptive or not paying attention. If a player elected not to show up for class or study hall, the player would run extra stadium stairs at 5 a.m. just before team practice at 6 a.m.

Sometimes, players needed more than just the coach in their ear to get them to straighten up. With that in mind, Strong and his staff called parents and or grandparents if a player was having difficulty following team rules.

Team assistants would regularly check to make sure players were in class then return to check on the same students half an hour later to make certain they were still in class. Former Louisville player Byron Stingily said,

 

“There is no getting lucky, he (Charlie Strong) was on it.”

Players learned early in Strong’s tenure at Louisville that if they cheated the program, they were going to pay for it 100 percent of the time, whether it was in the form of running gassers, or completing community-service hours.

In addition to the abovementioned core values, the Cardinals program also places emphasis on adherence to policy and accountability. The players weren’t just responsible for themselves; they were responsible for one another.

 

Toughness

Most head coaches make certain to simulate adversity to help their teams build camaraderie and toughness and Strong is no stranger to this tactic. Upon his arrival at the University of Texas, Strong instituted a new policy requiring players to walk to practice. Players were also prohibited from utilizing the infamous “hook’em horns” hand gesture to receive a free bus ride.

Not only were players barred from taking the bus on the half-mile journey to practice, bikes and scooters were also forbidden. Players that blatantly disregard Strong’s new directive will certainly pay for their actions as nothing gets by him.

Conditioning tests are another surefire way to improve the team’s overall cohesiveness and toughness. If one player is unable to complete a run in the allotted time frame, the entire team must repeat the run. This approach provides intrinsic and extrinsic motivation for players.

Another approach Strong has used to simulate adversity is echoing three words every current and former college football player dreads most, “Start it over!” Essentially this means that if the coach doesn’t like the effort he’s seeing by one or more players, practice must start from the very beginning, no matter how far along practice has gotten.

Strong utilized this method while at Louisville and has already admitted to using the same motivation ploy to improve his current team’s toughness.

 

Recruiting

Strong’s coaching record speaks for itself. However, many recruits, particularly quarterback recruits, love how he has developed players over the years. Many coaches across the Big XII conference have relationships with high school coaches and prospects throughout the state of Texas but his reputation precedes him and he’s gained instant respect.

Strong labeled Texas, “the hotbed of recruiting” and went on to say he intends to, “lock down the state of Texas”.

Four-star quarterback Jerrod Heard committed to Texas prior to Mack Brown’s resignation, but he knew he would keep his commitment to Texas once Strong was hired. “Texas got a good coach,” Heard said. “How he turned Louisville around into one of the top schools, he’s a great recruiter.”

The fact that Strong has proven that he is willing to open up the playbook for signal-callers who show mastery of the offense was further intriguing to Heard.

 

“He lets the quarterback work, that’s the kind of offense I like.”

Some players kept their commitment because of the coach’s prestige. Four-star running back Donald Catalon said, “He’s done some great things with Louisville and with Florida.” Catalon also said, “I’m really looking forward to playing for him. I’m excited about it.”

Three-star linebacker Andrew Beck also referenced Strong’s previous stops while voicing his support for Texas’ new hire. “I think it (the hire) will be good for the university and for me personally,” Beck said. “He seems like a great guy and a great coach who obviously has turned things around at Louisville.”

Beck is very excited about playing for a defensive-minded head coach with experience. As a result of Strong’s reputation, Beck will arrive at Texas with a tremendous amount of trust and respect for his new head coach. Beck said,

 

“He (Charlie Strong) knows what he’s doing.”

 

Love

Once a new head coach gets a few recruiting classes and victories under his belt, the disciplinarian begins to fade. In this vein, Strong is not much different. With that said, the way he disciplines the players he’s inherited at the beginning of his tenure at a new university comes from a place of love. Caring for all the players on his roster, irrespective of who recruited them, is not a claim every collegiate head coach can make.

Many collegiate coaches discipline their players as a means to merely achieve wins, but Strong genuinely cares about the wellbeing and the future of each player he’s coached.

Adam Froman, former Louisville quarterback, said, “He’s a very loyal person and does not forget any of the players he’s coached.” Froman went on to say, “If you do things right and you’re good to him, he’ll be good to you forever.”

Froman is now a coach at Valdosta State, and among those that called the university to help Froman land the interview was none other than Charlie Strong.

Strong is no stranger to opening his home to players on holidays as well as opening team facilities to former players. It is likely he’ll do the same once he gets settled in at Texas.

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Ralph Garcia

CEO NGSC Sports


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