Everything that is known about Charlie Strong is that he knows how to raise the bar when it comes to toughness. This is one of the biggest reasons Strong will likely be heading to a successful stay in Austin as the new head coach of the Texas Longhorns. Looking for a way to motivate his new program, Strong is making players walk to practices and preventing them from throwing up the traditional “hook ’em horns” hand gesture.
“They’ll get it back one of these days,” Strong said in a story by ESPN.com.
As the Longhorns practice this spring, they no longer receive a free bus ride for the half-mile journey the practice fields. Players must walk the half mile on foot. No bikes and no scooters, it seems, are allowed. Walking a mile could end up improving the endurance of the players, so that’s a pretty interesting idea by Strong, although perhaps they will one day be rewarded with their bus trips if they show signs of improvement and hard work in practcies.
It is all a part of a master plan Strong has for the Longhorns. One of the reasons Strong is a good fit for Texas is because the football program was in need of a bit of a wake-up call. Texas lost their toughness over the final years of the Mack Brown era, and Strong is just the right guy to hit the reset button.
At this time it is unconfirmed if there is a punishment for a player throwing up the hook ’em horns symbol, but given Strong’s determination to improve the program it would be wise for no player to dare to find out.
Oregon touched the ball 15 times in its 41-24 win over Colorado on Saturday night. Jeff Lockie played seven of them, including the first. Taylor Alie played eight.
As long as Vernon Adams nurses his broken finger, this appears to be the plan for the Ducks.
“They’d both done enough good things in practice last week to merit playing,” head coach Mark Helfrich told the Oregonian. “We just felt looking at the game plan we could parcel out aspects with each.”
“Of course you want to get into a better rhythm but that’s how it goes,” Lockie said. “We’re just going to play the best we can and as long as we’re winning games, there’s no problem with me.”
Lockie completed 8-of-11 throws for 54 yards with an interception while rushing five times for 18 yards. Alie connected on 4-of-9 throws for 83 yards and a touchdown while adding 22 yards on five carries. Not quite Marcus Mariota numbers from either signal caller.
“It’ll just depend on the game plan,” Helfrich said of Alie and Lockie. “I think those guys they have differences. There are some strengths and weaknesses to different areas of their game and so we’ll think about that going forward of just how the Washington State game plan comes out.”
With Oregon playing Washington and Washington State (combined Pac-12 wins thus far: zero) before a tough closing stretch, Helfrich and company have time to alternate signal callers.
The polls are meaningless. Especially any poll that isn’t the College Football Playoff top 25 and even then, as the TCU learned late last season, even the penultimate ranking is as meaningless as the paper they’re metaphorically written on.
Still, they’re catnip to college football fans and observers. Place them in front of us and we can’t help but gnaw on them.
And with that said, a bit of milestone was reached in Sunday’s Associated Press Top 25, as the SEC was completely shut out of the top five.
That group breaks down as follows:
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
An SEC free top five hasn’t happened in nearly five full years; October 10, 2010 was the last time such a thing occurred. Oddly enough, two of the same five culprits occupied that ranking as well:
- Ohio State
- Boise State
Underscoring the lesson of the first paragraph, eventual national champion Auburn checked in at No. 6. Those Tigers moved up a spot the following week and never looked back.
None of this means anything at all, until it does. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun along the way.