CRAWFORD BLOG | Taking the logos off Texas' helmets, Strong stamps his own mark on program
Charlie Strong is taking the frills away from the Texas program one by one, hoping to instill his own ethic of toughness and hard work.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Charlie Strong took to Twitter this morning with a simple message as his Texas Longhorns' team began preseason camp: "Putting the 'T' back in Texas, one step at a time?"
Strong, players will soon learn, is not joking around.
Players arrived to practice surprised to find that the iconic Longhorn logo had been removed from their practice helmets. They were wearing just plain white hats as they began drills (a practice common among most college football teams.)
Even their mode of practice arrival was different. Instead of the half-mile bus ride to the practice facility that players enjoyed under Mack Brown, Texas players made their way to the fields on foot.
Strong also has forbidden them from flashing the famous "Hook 'em horns" sign.
All of that will have to be re-earned as Strong endeavors to instill his own values, work ethic and mindset on the program.
He did similar things in Louisville. His first speech to the players informed them of the many things they used to do that they would no longer be allowed to do. (Among them, one player told me, was having kids. "He said there was only going to be one daddy in the room from then on, and he was it. If anybody wanted to start a family, he'd said he'd help them find a job in a program UPS had with the university.")
U of L professors were surprised to find Strong in the front row of many of their courses. They asked him why he was there and he said, "To make sure this guy is here and paying attention," he told them, pointing to whatever player was beside him.
Early returns on Strong at Texas have been mixed. The number of suspensions and dismissals has taken many fans aback.
But with camp opening, this is where Strong earns his money. His ability to influence players in the right way is impressive. He said upon leaving for Texas that he intended to change the program, not the let the program change him. It's a good bet that process is under way.
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