Charlie Strong and Texas – What each brings to the table

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I actually hate to see Charlie Strong leaving Louisville because he showed how a good defensive coordinator could change a culture of losing and Kentucky took note and hired Mark Stoops. The Louisville rivalry had to be a contributing factor in forcing Kentucky to change coaches and make the positive changes that are coming down the road.

If recruiting is the life-blood of a program, Texas provides the tradition and a built in talent pool for new head coach Charlie Strong has never had at Louisville. Below is a comparison between Texas and Louisville recruiting since 2002. (Click on the tables to enlarge.)

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It is clear that Charlie Strong will be able to recruit more talent at Texas with or without his current staff at Louisville, should he take them with him. As you know, he won't be able to take his best recruiter with him. Clint Hurtt will have to stay at Louisville for another year due to his "Show Cause" order from the NCAA. Another question, to me anyway, is how much Hurtt would help in recruiting Texas since his "expertise" is south Florida. Strong may wish to broaden the UT horizons because it seems that Texas has underachieved with the players from Texas. Is that due to Texas talent being overrated or is it due to coaching?

While Mack Brown has experienced success at Texas, his last four years indicate maybe he had lost the hunger of previous years. Was he slacking off? On the other hand, Strong has taken a broken Louisville program and rebuilt it from the Kragthorpe ashes. Strong, however, had the benefit of weak schedules and Teddy Bridgewater. That being said, Louisville beat Florida and Miami in the last two years during the bowl season. While beating Florida may have been a fluke, beating Miami tends to make the Florida game less of a fluke. Over the last two years, Mack Brown broke even in the Alamo Bowl.

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Make no mistake, Texas is a far bigger endeavor than Louisville, but one can certainly make the argument that Strong has been the better coach, albeit on a smaller stage since he's been at Louisville. While the snapshot below doesn't tell the whole story, it gives you an idea of coaching performance.

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Charlie Strong's Credentials

Forget about Louisville's strength of schedule. That's on Tom Jurich. The facts indicate he has the pedigree for the job at Texas.

Coaching career (HC unless noted)

1983-1984 Florida (Graduate Assistant)
1985 Texas A&M (Graduate Assistant)
1986-1987 Southern Illinois (Wide Receivers)
1988-1989 Florida (Outside Linebackers)
1990 Ole Miss (Wide Receivers)
1991-1994 Florida (Asst. Head Coach - DT Coach)
1995-1998 Notre Dame (DE/DT Coach)
1999-2001 South Carolina (Defensive Coordinator)
2002-2009 Florida (Defensive Coordinator), (Interim head coach), (Assistant HC & Co-DC)

2010-2013 Louisville


When Urban Meyer became the head coach at Florida, Charlie Strong was the only coach who was retained from Ron Zook's staff. Strong was the defensive coordinator for Florida during their BCS National Championship runs in 2006 and 2008.

As Burnt Orange Nation notes, the Louisville Courier-Journal points out:

Ninety-three of Strong's 98 players have graduated, and the Cardinals' single-year APR score mushroomed from 896 in the 2009-10 academic year to 948 in Strong's first year to 971 in 2011-12. A U of L spokesman said the team's 2012-13 score, which will be released this spring, is expected to be among the best in the nation.

While his players seemingly will do anything for him, his relationship with the Louisville fan base hasn't been all that great and his media presence isn't the best, but he can work on that. Strong has criticized the Cardinal fan base about attendance, especially on the road, exhorting them to be more like the Big Blue Nation. Of course, they took umbrage to that while the BBN chuckled.

Louisville Fan Reaction

Some are wishing him well and others are viewing him as a traitor to the "best football program in the nation." So, it is a mixed bag at least over at the Card Chronicle site's comment section. The Louisville Rivals site and their Scout site forums are reacting as we would expect.

Recruiting and Transfer Turmoil

As expected, when a coach leaves for whatever reasons, doubt and angst enter the minds of those who were recruited by the outgoing staff. Steve Jones at the Courier Journal made contact with 24 of UL's recruits and wrote this article. It is also being reported that Florida transfer, Ian Silberman, has already de-committed.

As the World turns

Since Kentucky and Louisville began their annual series, when one is having success, the other is going through a down-turn. Will history repeat itself? Kentucky has hired Mark Stoops and he is changing the culture at UK. Charlie Strong is leaving for Texas and you have to wonder if Louisville will commence a corresponding downhill slide. Both Athletic Directors at Kentucky and Louisville had had their hits and misses with football coaches. Has the cycle begun again?

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