What a difference a week makes. After the Longhorns’ season-opening, lopsided victory over the Mean Green, it appeared that the culture surrounding the Texas football program had finally begun to change. The team came out tough. No longer were the players talking the talk, they were proving it on the field and seemingly couldn’t wait to redeem themselves against BYU. It was expected that this season, the new and improved Longhorns led by Charlie Strong and his staff, would be seeking retribution for last season’s debacle against the Cougars.

However, if possible, this year’s match-up proved to be even worse for Texas. While things looked so promising for this program a week ago, worry and doubt is starting to seep into the minds of the fans.

Immediately following the 41-7 beat down from the Cougars, the third worst home loss in the program’s history, fans began placing blame on anyone and everyone. Many argued that Mack Brown is still to blame for leaving the program in shambles; others believed that Strong, as the current coach, is the one responsible. Regardless of where the blame lies, it’s time to take a step back and look at things a bit more rationally.

Most Texas fans, myself included, were trying to rush things. Strong promised everyone who bleeds burnt orange that he was going to come in and change the culture, and though we all felt that the team was still a season or two away from the return to national prominence, this year was to be the one that placed the Horns back in the spotlight.

But then, just like that, the Longhorns’ hopes were humiliatingly dashed in front of a home crowd on their own turf. All thought that this new Texas team would be stronger, tougher, and meaner vanished into the night sky.

It took the BYU shellacking for most of us to realize that rebuilding a program takes time; and perhaps seven months isn’t nearly enough.

While rehashing the humiliating loss over the last week, Longhorn fans have been reminded of, or perhaps have discovered for the first time, the following truths:

Charlie Strong is not in a hurry. He’s going to get this done his way and on his schedule, and anyone who isn’t on board can leave. After all of the suspensions and dismissals, which could easily end up costing the team this season, some are starting to worry that Charlie Strong’s strict demands may turn players away. To Strong, however, it’s more important to do things right than to do them quickly, and in the long run, maybe that’s for the best. After all, didn’t we all want the players to toughen up?

That’s exactly what he’s trying to do.

Sure Strong came in and laid down some tough new ground rules, but the players are not going to change overnight. For the last few years many of these players have been enveloped in a program that is as different as night and day than the one currently under Strong’s stern gaze. Attitudes, philosophies, and cultural norms don’t just change in the blink of an eye.

We are also reminded that these are not Strong’s players, and after watching a couple of games this season, it appears as though the overall talent on this team isn’t as elite as we’ve grown accustomed to expect. Offensively, this team has very few difference-makers; that became increasingly evident against the Cougars. The truth is, this offense is incredibly frustrating to watch. It’s easy to bemoan Strong, Watson, and Wickline’s offensive philosophies, but maybe we should wait and see how their system will work with players who are actually recruited to run it, not players who were inherited as part of a system they’re trying to change.

Yes, it seems right now that the scheme they’re trying to implement will likely be ineffective in this pass-happy conference that demands high scores, but once all the pieces of the plan are brought it, that all may change. Right now we are just getting bits and pieces. We need to wait and see what the bigger picture looks like.

Fan exploded when Charlie Strong admitted that the Longhorns weren’t going to win anything this year. Turns out, he knew what he was dealing with more than the fans did.

Things aren’t perfect — nowhere close — and questions remain.

For some, the shine is wearing off of the new coaching staff, and fears are starting to set in. How long will it take? Will we ever again field a high-scoring offense? If not, is Strong the type of person that will make changes that contradict his long-held offensive philosophies if they’re proven to be ineffective? Will recruits buy-in to what he’s trying to do or will they be scared away by his high demands?

These are questions that cannot yet be answered. It’s still too early.

However, the way that Strong, his staff, and the players respond to and rebound from such a devastating loss will be very telling. Will the coaches learn from their mistakes and take the gloves off Swoopes? Will they open up the offense? Will they make the necessary in-game adjustments that were lacking versus the Cougars?

We will find out over the remainder of the season, but one thing is for sure: it’s going to be a long and often times frustrating race, but if you want to reach finish line victoriously, you have to stay on course.
  • J.B. TexasEx and bcherry168 like this