Charlie Strong has already rearranged offensive play-calling duties. Might he be ready to do the same on defense?
Strong danced around a direct question on Monday about demoting defensive coordinator Vance Bedford, whose unit slipped to No. 120 nationally following Saturday’s 50-7 debacle at TCU.
Bedford has two things going for him that former offensive player-caller Shawn Watson did not. A day before Watson was demoted, Strong revealed ominously that Watson was being “evaluated.” Asked about Bedford’s security on Monday, Strong was non-responsive and rambled about defensive players neglecting gaps, not getting off of blocks, and committing too many penalties. It was the ultimate juke move.
And while Watson’s offense was a letdown in 2014, Bedford’s defense pitched a shutout (against Kansas) and ranked No. 26 nationally. That was with four players who would go on to be drafted. Their replacements are either young or unproductive. Some are both.
Unless Strong makes a midweek change, Bedford will call plays against Oklahoma, which will be Texas’ final test before a bye week. Keep in mind, though, that Strong waited until Tuesday before pulling the plug on Watson.
Strong, who while at Texas has fired two assistants and demoted two others, put his coaches on notice Monday when he said, “We have the players. It is about us coaching.”
Kicking change? There is at least one person who could lose his job by Saturday — Nick Rose.
Strong said he informed Rose that his job is up for grabs after the kicker missed field goals of 40 and 39 yards at TCU.
“I told him we’re gonna open it up,” Strong said. “Not very pleased with what we’re doing there.”
Rose is 4 of 7 on field goals and missed an extra point to secure a one-point loss against Cal.
The roster shows three backups: Nick Jordan, who made 9 of 15 field goals in 2012, and freshmen Jon Coppens and Evan Moore. Moore, of Aubrey High, made a 53-yard field goal in 2013, according to his Texas bio.
There’s a game to be played: Amid Monday’s social media quarreling was this simple truth — there’s a rivalry game to be played this week.
Defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway was asked why Oklahoma players, after seeing Texas fighting over Twitter following a 43-point loss, should take the Longhorns seriously. OU is favored by 16.5 points.
“If they don’t come in and take this seriously, they’ll find out what happens,” Ridgeway said. “… They’re gonna get (a fight).”
JUCO recruiting: None of the three junior college transfers Strong acquired is contributing much. However, that won’t discourage him from taking that same path this year.
“We’ve had some calls about linemen,” Strong said. “You have to really research them and make sure they’re the right fit.”
So far, Texas has batted 0 for 3 in the 2015 class. Offensive linemen Tristan Nickelson and Brandon Hodges are non-factors, as is defensive end Quincy Vasser.
Under Armour meeting canceled: Texas officials canceled a planned Sunday meeting with Under Armour executives, and all signs indicate the school will sign a long-term extension with Nike, a source close to the negotiations told the American-Statesman.
Nike, which has been a partner with UT athletics since 2000, has a contractual right of first refusal in its current deal. That means if Under Armour offered a sky-high deal, Nike officials have the opportunity to match.
Short yards: Strong said Daje Johnson was expected to undergo his second test of the week on Monday for an apparent concussion he sustained at TCU. “We’re not gonna put him out there unless he’s ready to go,” Strong said. … Defensive end Shiro Davis (knee) is expected to play against OU, and right tackle Kent Perkins (knee) is still day-to-day. Linebacker Breckyn Hager suffered a high ankle sprain late in the game and figures to be out for a while. … Kris Boyd tweeted an apology for his halftime retweet of an accounting suggesting he should transfer to A&M. “I made my decision long ago to come change this program around knowing what would come with it and I’m sticking to that, and don’t regret it one bit.” … During a morning interview on 104.9 The Horn, former Texas coach John Mackovic said if he could give Strong a piece of advice, it would be “And this too shall pass.”