Since day one, I've been a fan of Charlie Strong, human being and molder of men.
But I readily admit my skepticism abounded about whether that would ever translate to Charlie Strong, successful head football coach of the Texas Longhorns.
Being a stand-up person and good coach doesn't ensure high level football success (exhibit A: Will Muschamp). With Strong, minor issues myriad added up to major concerns. The PR hatchet jobs. The recruiting whiffs. The on-field blunders. The quarterback conundrum. Perhaps, engineering a complete overhaul of a stagnant blue blood brand while fending off flourishing, new-school competition and upward managing an administration in turmoil was simply too much for Strong to handle.
But after this weekend's heart-wrenching loss to Cal? I now believe. Count me fully aboard the Sailor Ripley dreamwagon.
It's not just the revelation of Jerrod Heard (although having an electric quarterback and an offense that scores actual points is not unwelcome). Rather, it's the accumulation of the little things.
The development of actual depth from scrap parts. Hi, Kevin Vaccaro! The turnaround of Daje Johnson, juvenile whippersnapper, into Daje Johnson, offensive kraken. The successful application of onside kick game theory. The staff's preternatural ability to identify talented freshmen--I no longer weep for the future--and, moreover, the willingness to throw them in the fire as a developmental mechanism. The youngsters' Twitter swagger backed up by on-field, playmaking swagger. The decisiveness to cut Watson loose and roll with Norvaylor. Not only Strong's willingness to change, but also his understanding of how to implement and accomplish such change. The new, never quit attitude permeating the team. The close losses now that portend blowout wins later.
So here's my new hot take.
No, Texas isn't winning a national championship this year. And maybe not the next. But soon. The next Burnt Orange belle epoque is almost nigh. Charlie Strong is building it, and the wins will come.