DALLAS — ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit admits he “might be on an island,” but he believes Texas is in good hands with coach Charlie Strong.
The Longhorns are 11-14 in two seasons under Strong, who operates in a profession where fans and school administrators have little patience. Georgia’s Mark Richt was just forced out after winning 145 games in 15 seasons. LSU’s Les Miles kept his job after a failed coup attempt in November.
“I’m a believer in what he can do,” Herbstreit said. “I think he just needs another year or two of recruiting. I think it would be a big mistake. If you let Charlie Strong go, you’re back to square one with a new culture and a new coach.”
Speaking at the Omni Hotel in preparation for the Cotton Bowl, Herbstreit outlined a number of Texas-related thoughts. The constant theme was recruiting. Strong has admitted he needs another solid recruiting class to bolster the team’s depth.
Texas currently has 12 commitments for the 2016 class. All three major recruiting websites have the Longhorns’ class ranked anywhere from 42nd to 52nd nationally.
“Like Mark Dantonio, (Strong) likes to look for not just a guy who runs a 4.4 but a personality that kind of fits,” Herbstreit said. “He’s looking for dogs, especially on defense. When I watch them play over 12 games, I saw what he wants to see a handful of times. He needs more of those players on his roster. He just needs time to get his recruiting base up.
“I think they need to find a quarterback,” he added. “Maybe (Jerrod) Heard’s the guy. They need a little bit more skill. But It think people will be pleasantly surprised in a couple of years where Texas is.”
Herbstreit believes a number of factors have closed a new coach’s window for success. Coaches today make millions, and even school administrators can be swayed by social media and Internet message boards.
“It takes a very strong athletic director to block the noise out and not worry about what the fan base is saying or what the writers are saying,” Herbstreit said. “You have to be confident in your own skin and who you are as an AD and see the big picture.”
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