Part one of Charlie Strong’s “put the T back in Texas” campaign was simple enough: restore a hardness to the program that had eroded over the last few seasons.
Strong began by implementing simple, discipline-driven rules – sit in the front two rows of class, no earrings in the football facility, etc – designed to establish toughness and order in the way he prefers things to be done.
If part two was finding an in-house sheriff to enforce this standard, consider that done as well.
Senior cornerback Quandre Diggs said a lot on Tuesday at Big 12 Media Days, and most of his words were designed to deliver a brutally honest message to his teammates who aren’t totally committed.
Diggs was just getting fired up at this point. He continues:
Those are some bold words, and I presume Strong loves them. Of course, this raises the expectation of Diggs’ 2014 season. Talk grows tiresome if you don’t produce.
How tough is this new Texas team? Week 2 against BYU and Week 3 against UCLA in Arlington will say something.
1. The second day of Big 12 Media Days was mostly about Strong and the transition out of the Mack Brown era. “We’re not as bad as we used to be,” Strong said when asked to assess his team. Kansas State’s Bill Snyder gave him some good advice on how to be successful at Texas, saying, “The important thing is just be who you are. And if you indeed do that, be who you are, care about people, I think things can work out fine for him.”
There was also some interest around how Strong would handle his first Big 12 Media Days, given his reputation as being not as adept at the front-facing part of his job. All of that has been a bit overblown, I think. He’ll never be as sugary as Mack Brown, but charisma seems to take on a different perception when paired with on-field success.
2. There was a really important and unfortunate piece of news in the Big 12 on Tuesday: TCU’s Devonte Fields was suspended from the team as he’s being investigated for an alleged assault in which he allegedly punched a former girlfriend in the head and threatened her with a gun. Fields was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2012 and was suspended for the first two games of 2013 for violating team rules before injuring his foot two games later and missing the rest of the season. If Fields doesn’t return to the program, it’s a huge blow to TCU. He was recently voted the preseason Defensive Player of the Year in the Big 12, and when we had coach Gary Patterson on The Audible a couple weeks ago, he spoke with excitement about getting Fields back. Listen to that conversation here:
3. Pac-12 Media Days begin today, with USC’s Steve Sarkisian, Oregon’s Mark Helfrich and Washington State’s Mike Leach, among others, speaking. Here’s the full schedule for the two-day event.
THREE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
1. Texas named David Ash the starting quarterback on Tuesday. Ash was recently cleared for full practice after breaking his foot in spring camp; he’s also had an extensive concussion history that required him to miss a large chunk of last season while the team struggled to diagnose his symptoms. Ash is the most sure thing among Texas’ choices at QB, but there’s no certainty he remains healthy through the season, and it also prolongs the mystery of who’s the QB of the future. Sophomore Tyrone Swoopes needs work, and highly-regarded freshman Jerrod Heard is just beginning his Texas career. Hopefully Ash has a healthy and productive season; if not, where Strong goes at QB will be a driving storyline in the Big 12.
2. Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher offered more explanation on Jameis Winston’s shoplifting incident to Bruce Feldman, trying to reiterate Winston made a mistake but not one with malice.
3. Alabama coach Nick Saban refuted Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby’s comments about cheating in college football. From al.com:
THREE THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO KNOW
1. Bovada released updated national title odds, and Alabama is now co-favorites with FSU at 11/2. It seems like Vegas has been listening to all the SEC-is-unstable talk, because the biggest leap made in the updated odds came from Ole Miss, which jumped from 66/1 to 40/1 odds.
2. Former Penn State assistants Jay Paterno and Bill Kennedy are suing the university for more than $1 million, stating their release from the school in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case gave them “pariah status” and has ruined their reputation. We had Paterno on The Audible a little while back to discuss what it was like being inside that storm. Listen here:
3. Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier were on TV together on Tuesday, and when Saban was asked something about how he pitches recruits on playing time, the side-eye look Spurrier gave him was priceless. Have a good chuckle: