AUSTIN, Texas — Toughness is one "T" Texas coach Charlie Strong has been preaching since he arrived in Austin. But there wasn’t much toughness, tackling or touchdowns on Saturday in a 41-7 home loss to BYU.
Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill picked up right where he left off in last year’s meeting, running all over the Longhorns’ defense. Texas didn’t give up 550 rushing yards again, but the outcome was just as embarrassing.
"It’s an embarrassment," Strong said. "It’s an embarrassment to this program, it’s an embarrassment to this university. I knew it and I didn’t do anything about it. I take responsibility and all the blame for this loss. I knew during warmups we weren’t ready to play.
"Just the whole demeanor; how they took the field and just how they carried themselves. You can notice it. I told them before we ever went out. I said we’re not ready to play."
The Longhorns were held scoreless in the first half, but they weren’t out of the game down 6-0 going into halftime. The Cougars took control from then on.
Hill ran for 99 of BYU’s 248 yards on the ground, highlighted by a spectacular 30-yard run and leap over a Texas defender into the end zone on the first possession of the third quarter.
"We gave up 28 points in the third quarter, allowed their quarterback to think we went into this game saying that we were going to stop the quarterback from running the football and we did not allow that to happen," Strong said. "You can’t do that if you think you’re going to play great defense. It wouldn’t ever happen. We’ve still got a ways to go."
The Texas offense was shut out for the first two and half quarters with quarterback Tyrone Swoopes filling in for David Ash, who suffered a concussion during the season opener last week. Although there was only one scoring drive on the night, Swoopes was impressive at times in his first career start, going 20 of 31 for 176 yards passing.
"I was confident in our preparation and the team looked good in practice all week," Swoopes said. "Of course you don’t want to lose. I mean, this game is not about me. We lost the game. It was good to get the first time under my belt, but I wish we could have won."
The young quarterback was the lone bright spot of the game for Strong despite the offense managing just 258 yards and turning the ball over three times.
"Tyrone played well to be placed in the position he was placed in," he said. "Just very pleased with Tyrone. I’m very pleased with the way he played and just how he totally managed the offense and just did a great job."
Last year’s 40-21 loss to BYU led to major changes within the Texas program and was the beginning of the end of the Mack Brown era.
Is it already time to panic early into the Strong era?
"It’s the second ballgame," Strong said. "I don’t know how much of a reality check, but the reality is we need to come prepared and play great defense if you want to go play and compete.
"This will be a great game to see how we’re going to grow from it. We’re going to learn from it and we’ll see with this game just where we are and just how well the leadership will step up now and if the seniors can take the leadership and go lead this football team and go finish the year out."
It doesn’t get any easier from here. Three of Texas’ next four games are against No. 11 UCLA, No. 10 Baylor, and No. 4 Oklahoma. Yikes!