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Taking Sides - Adams vs Cotcher
“We have everything available, and I don’t know why we can’t be successful. There’s no reason for us not to be. Now, I can’t tell you how soon it’s going to be. Don’t hold me to that. Don’t say, ‘Ooh, coach said next year we’ll be in the national…’ We will not be in the national championship game.” - Charlie Strong
There's something to be said for honesty and forthrightness - qualities that seem to go missing in college athletics all too frequently. When Head Coach Charlie Strong made this remark to Longhorn supporters in Fort Worth, TX, he was being realistic and making sure that fan expectations are reasonable.
That's the smart thing to do. Or is it?
Strong's comments are a good move - Sean Adams
I love it. In the end it is the coach’s responsibility to drive the young men left to his charge to be the best they can be. Like Urban Meyer said when he took the Ohio State job, “We are going to get everything possible out of you. If there’s a touch of greatness in there how cool would that be?”
I believe Charlie Strong’s statement is not for the crowd at all. Some would argue that he is managing expectations but those expectations were already set in stone with the part of the fan base that breathes air and drinks water.
That statement was for his players and coaches and it works in congruence with all of the other statements that he has made since arriving in Texas...he is not seeing the effort, passion and commitment that it takes “yet” to be a championship level team.
While I think they lack the talent, experience and depth right now to be a national championship caliber team, it’s not hard to see his intent with that statement. He was making a statement about having everything that he needs at the University of Texas to be great. He was telling the crowd to give him time and telling his players and coaches to give him more.
If you have read anything about Charlie Strong and his work ethic, you know he is right there with them working.
photo credit: usatoday.com
Strong's comments don't help him - Matt Cotcher
Coaching involves a lot more than X's, O's, instructing and making in-game adjustments. Similarly, playing the game is much more than running fast, tackling and blocking.....especially when you're only 19 years old.
The majority of Charlie Strong's football team has never had to make ends meet in order to make the mortgage payment at the end of the month. These are adolescents that are worried about things like girlfriends, who wasn't at last Saturday's party, and how many people follow them on Twitter. In other words, the main pressure in their lives is performing on the football field.
When Charlie Strong told the world that his team would not win the national championship this fall, he wasn't managing expectations - from a psychological standpoint, he was setting expectations.
Psychology 101 teaches that humans seek stability and control in our lives. The "unexpected" is "bad". Following this logic, a loss in a football game is less "bad" if it is expected.
When motivating a room full of kids, why would it possibly be beneficial to establish a ceiling on their potential? With all of the culture change taking place in the football program, none of the players know what to expect of themselves, the team, or the season. Maybe the unknown could be helpful? Maybe the team plays above their potential in the first game and builds off that level of performance?
By saying that the team won't win the national championship, Coach Strong limited the confidence of the team. Strong's words could be construed as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Yogi Berra was talking baseball when he said, "90 percent of the game is half mental," but the logic applies here too. Remember, these are 18-22 year olds - confidence is everything.