In my opinion, Charlie Strong’s first year as the Longhorns head football coach was a successful one for two reasons: First, they won enough games to get into a bowl game. That’s very important, not just for recruiting status but for the extra practice time.
And second, they beat Oklahoma State. For my money, beating the Cowboys is much more important than beating the Sooners or anyone else, because I despise Mike Gundy and T. Boone Pickens.
Yeah, it’s personal.
Back to the first reason — I didn’t think Texas would win six games this year. I didn’t think they would beat Oklahoma State or even West Virginia. Not after trimming the team of its talented malcontents.
Because make no mistake about it, some talented players got thrown off the team or quit on their own volition. Maybe he lacked Strong’s core values, but Joe Bergeron is a talented running back as is Jalen Overstreet, who was also bounced from the team. And offensive tackle Kennedy Estelle looked good in the win over North Texas before he was asked to leave, too.
Of course the biggest loss was quarterback David Ash, who retired from football after suffering yet another concussion — his third within a year. According to reports from Burnt Orange Nation’s website, Ash still suffers symptoms from those concussions.
Concussions are a bruise on the brain and nothing to be trifled with.
With Ash out, the Longhorns turned to quarterback Tyrone Swoopes. The 6-4, 240 pound QB passed for more than 2,000 yards this year and ran for 233, but played inconsistently — to say the least. Against OK State, he threw 24 completions with 33 attempts, but against West Virginia he managed only 11-for-29. Amazingly, the Longhorns beat the Mountaineers, but you can thank the defense for that.
You can pretty much thank the defense for getting the Horns into a bowl game, for that matter. Led by junior defensive end Malcom Brown, the defense held Texas Tech to 13 points, West Virginia to 16 and Oklahoma State to seven. The only time all year the offense bailed out the defense was in the 48-45 win over Iowa State.
And of course TCU thumped the Longhorns 48-10, but who couldn’t see that coming? That is, besides everyone at 1300 The Zone in Austin, TX.
The Longhorns finished 6-6 overall, 5-4 in conference play. They’ll be named to a bowl game soon, and winning that bowl game would definitely be a bonus for recruiting purposes and give Strong a winning season in his first year as coach.
So going forward, the Longhorns still need to find its groove on offense, but the defense and special teams play should continue to be solid in 2015.
Anybody want to play quarterback?