After a week’s worth of back and forth between HornsDigest.com, the Austin American-Statesman and Orangebloods.com on whether or not NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL Players Association executive vice president DeMaurice Smith and Texas head coach Charlie Strong would meet Sunday in Austin, the meeting indeed happened – although NFL executive vice present Troy Vincent joined Goodell and Strong, not Smith.
Goodell was in Austin to visit the headquarters of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, following up on the NFL’s pledge to commit to significant resources to preventing domestic violence in light of the league’s recent run of bad press. Strong has garnered a different kind of coverage after doubling the number of drug tests administered by his predecessor and kicking nine players off the team for failing to meet the standards of his infamous core values – “Honesty”, “Treat Women With Respect”, “No Drugs”, “No Stealing”, and “No Drugs.”
“He’s setting a precedent,” Vincent told Yahoo Sports. “He’s taking a stand on the front lines.” Yahoo reported the league has been impressed by the stances Strong has taken in instilling discipline, specifically mentioning the dismissals of wide receivers Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander after the pair were charged with felony sexual assault in July – which, oddly enough, is a move most other college head coaches would have made as well.
While the NFL praises Strong’s values, many have wondered if they will ultimately work against Texas in recruiting. Longhorns coaches have responded with raised eyebrows and incredulous expressions.
“I hope they do because I think it’s a positive,” defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said of the possibility that Strong’s hardline stances could be used as negative recruiting by rival staffs. “If someone is using it as a negative against us and I go into [see] parents I’ll go, ‘Oh, really. So it’s okay for you in your home to let your son do whatever they want whenever they want to do it?’ They’re going to say no, so what’s the difference?”
Speaking of recruiting, Vincent offered the money quote that the Texas staff should get in every high school and living room in a thousand mile radius. “If I’m a parent and I’m looking to send my son or daughter – especially my daughter – to the University of Texas, that coach is saying this is important,” Vincent said. “We believe this is a model that should be emulated across the country in both amateur and professional football.”
Texas may want to start holding some open auditions for wide receiver before the season gets started. A hamstring injury will cost senior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley some practice time. There is no determination on when he might return to practice.
“Shipley has a hamstring pull, don’t know the timetable on that,” Texas coach Charlie Strong said Wednesday, per ESPN.com. “I don’t think it’s very severe. We’ll try to get him back as quickly as possible.”
Texas is now experiencing some serious depth concerns at the position, as if they were not already apparent. Strong has dismissed two receivers this offseason (Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander) and suspended another (Daje Johnson). Marcus Johnson has not been suspended or dismissed, but is recovering from some minor surgery on his nose. Other receivers still eligible and available for the Longhorns include senior John Harris and sophomore Jacorey Warrick. Harris had five catches last season for 141 yards and two touchdowns. Warrick did not record any offensive stats last fall.
“Warrick is getting a lot of work and Harris is getting a lot of work,” Strong said, again via ESPN.com. “With five freshmen, it gives us a chance to look at them too.”
I guess there is a bright side to this circumstance and situation in Austin. Younger players will get more opportunities, which can only benefit them and Texas later down the line.
As Texas opens fall camp, new head coach Charlie Strong took some time to confirm the latest decisions regarding player suspensions and dismissals that have been thrown under a spotlight in recent weeks. Strong formally announced the suspensions of offensive tackle Desmond Harrison, wide receiver Daje Johnson and safety Josh Turner, but did not reveal how much time will be taken away from them except to say they “will miss games.”
Turner had been previously thought to have been dismissed but ultimately remained with the program before following through on a potential transfer. Bergeron’s dismissal came in late July. Strong then confirmed some dismissal news that had previously been reported. Running backs Joe Bergeron and Jalen Overstreet and defensive back Chevoski Collins have all been released from scholarships. In addition, wide receivers Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander were once again confirmed to have been released from their scholarships by Texas, following a sexual assault investigation. the two receivers were initially suspended by the team.
Strong’s tough approach to discipline has been praised by Texas president Bill Powers and is having an overall positive impact on the future of the Longhorns football program. Texas needed a bit of a kick in the butt as a football program, and Strong continues to deliver it with a steel-toe boot.
If there was one thing the Texas football program needed, it was a focus on discipline and getting a toughness back. That is what makes head coach Charlie Strong a terrific hire for the program after cutting ties with Mack Brown. Strong’s message to the team was put on display once more Friday morning with news of senior running back Joe Bergeron being dismissed from the roster.
Bergeron is the seventh player to be booted from the Texas football program since Strong arrived on his saddle in Austin. That number has skyrocketed in the past week with four others being dismissed this week. Running back Jalen Overstreet and defensive end Chevoski Collins were also dismissed by the program on Thursday for various violations, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Wide receivers Kendall Sanders and Montrell Meander were also suspended by Strong on Thursday as a legal situation stemming from an alleged sexual assault.
Bergeron had been sent home from spring practice earlier this year, so seeing Strong come to this decision may not be quite a shock, although the head coach did sing the praises of the running back during a spring tour. Strong has said from day one as the Texas head coach he needed to make some changes to overhaul what could be a sleeping giant of a program at this point. Strong has always been focused on discipline and he does not waste time coddling players, which is a little bit of the dose of reality seemingly needed in Austin.
Bergeron was third on the team in rushing in 2013, accumulating 362 rushing yards and four touchdowns in 13 games.
Don’t mess with Texas? Don’t mess with Strong, that much is for sure.
A pair of Texas wide receivers was reportedly charged for felony sexual assault Thursday. Arrests for Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander are currently pending. The two have already been suspended by Texas.
The felony sexual assault charges are considered second-degree in nature and stem from an incident that took place earlier this week, according to The Austin American-Statesman. Sanders also faces an additional charge for what is being reported as improper photography. Bail for each has been set at $75,000 for Meander and $95,000 for Sanders ($75,000 for each and an additional $20,000 for the improper photography charge to Sanders).
According to police records acquired by The Austin American-Statesman, University of Texas police found an alleged victim crying under a desk with no shoes. The victim claims to have agreed to consensual sex with Meander, but Sanders knocked on a door and was let in by Meander. At that time, the alleged victim claims, Sanders began to force himself on the alleged victim. When Meander returned to the room, the alleged victim claims both Texas receivers continued to “forcibly” penetrate the victim. After seeing what was believed to be a camera flash, the alleged victim got dressed and left. University of Texas police was notified of the incident early Monday morning and began investigating quickly.
Texas head coach Charlie Strong issued a statement regarding the suspensions.
Sanders has been in legal trouble before at Texas. He was suspended from the 2013 season opener following a DUI charge. He started seven games last season for the Longhorns, finishing the year third on the Longhorns in receiving yards with 361 yards and a touchdown. Sanders was also used on special teams, with 10 kickoff returns over 12 games. Meander is a redshirt freshman after sitting out the 2013 season.