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Longhorns Will Improve this Season, Return to Greatness Next Year

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Coach Charlie Strong will once again return Texas to the top next year.
Coach Charlie Strong will once again return Texas to the top next year.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Fans of the Texas Longhorns are getting antsy.  Their once-proud program has fallen on hard times of late, and boosters are grumbling that they want wins, and they want them now.  My advice for Longhorn fans: be patient.  Your long-suffering team will improve under Charlie Strong in 2014 2015 2016, but Texas is still one year away from returning to national contention.

Much has been written of Texas's precipitous fall from college football's lofty summit.  It still seems like only yesterday thatwas five years ago that   seems like ages since Texas played Alabama in the 2009 national championship game.  Since that heartbreaking loss, Texas has suffered through four five six disappointing seasons.

Fans fully expected the Longhorns to return to their winning ways entering last year, but  former head coach Mack Brown failed to capitalize on the talent surplus he stockpiled in three consecutive exceptional recruiting classesfirst-year head coach Charlie Strong inherited a shocking talent deficit from prior coach Mack Brown  second-year head coach Charlie Strong struggled with disfunction in his offensive staff, en route to a shocking and humiliating 8-5 record in 2013disappointing 6-7 record in 2014   tolerable but not ideal 5-7 record in 2015.  But followers of the Longhorns are rightly optimistic that things will be better in 2014 2015 2016.

A big reason for Texas fans' confidence entering the season is new second-year third-year head coach Charlie Strong.  Compared to previous coach Mack Brown, Strong is viewed as a superior Xs and Os strategistdeveloper of talent   recruiter, which should begin paying dividends immediatelyin year two   this season or next.

Confident Texas backers also point to promising changes in offensive philosophy.  This year's Texas offense should be improved under pro-style offensive mastermind Shawn Watsonthe guidance of Jay Norvell, whom Strong brought in to replace Shawn Watson's outdated pro-style offense with an exciting up-tempo attack   Tulsa spread mastermind Sterlin Gilbert, whom Strong brought in to replace the ineffective up-tempo attack of Jay Norvell and Shawn Watson.  Watson Norvell Gilbert will install the same exciting brand of offensive football that made Teddy Bridgewater a Heisman candidate at Louisvillea new uptempo spread offense that better suits Texas's talent   the same exciting brand of offensive football that helped Tulsa improve from 2-10 to 6-7 in just one season.

But despite the justifiable optimism for improvement in 2014 2015 2016, Texas is still one year away from really breaking through to the upper echelon of college football.  For one thing, there's the quarterback situation.  Injury-prone David AshPsychologically-fragile Tyrone Swoopes   True freshman Shane Buechele is the projected starter, and the Longhorns are only one snap away from relying on the inexperienced but talented Tyrone Swoopesinexperienced but talented Jerrod Heard   beleaguered veteran Tyrone Swoopes.  But sources report that the coaching staff is optimistic about the position for next season, after Swoopes gains valuable experience in the new offenseHeard gains valuable experience in the new offense   Buechele gains valuable experience in the new offense.

And there's also the defense.  Although expectations are high for the Longhorn D in 2015 2016 2017, the 2014 2015 2016 unit will have to find creative ways to compensate for an inexperienced secondarylinebacking corps   defensive line.

But all indications point to Texas patching up its last remaining weak points by 2015 2016 2017.  If there's one thing Coach Strong has proven over the course of his career, it's that he doesn't need elite players to build a winning team can develop unheralded recruits into the elite players he needs to turn Texas around   can recruit the kind of elite talent Texas needs before it can start winning again.  He just needs time.  He just needs one more year.

So be patient, Longhorn fans.  Texas will improve in 2014 2015 2016.  And greatness is coming in 2015 2016 2017.