Credit Charlie Strong for his bluster. Feel free to criticize his follow-through.
The Texas coach had probably forgotten, or had hoped others had forgotten, his bold assertion from a year ago that the Longhorns would never again lose five games.
Strong was called on it Monday, two days after his team slumped to 3-5 with the shutout loss at Iowa State.
“I can make those predictions, but it’s happened, so there’s not much I can do about it,” Strong said.
He can’t reverse time to Nov. 17, 2014 and take back this quote on five losses:
“That will never happen in this program again,” he said.
Oops. Strong should’ve known he’d be saying goodbye to Jordan Hicks, Malcom Brown, John Harris and several more solid seniors, and bringing in a host of unproven players as their replacements.
But forget about five losses. With four games to go in his sophomore season — Kansas, West Virginia, Texas Tech and Baylor — Strong may not even get to five wins.
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Who’s leading?: Since he’s been here, Strong has consistently lamented a lack of leadership from upperclassmen, and he pushed that narrative once more after Saturday’s loss.
His criticism may be wearing thin in the locker room.
“No comment,” defensive tackle Desmond Jackson said Monday when told of Strong’s comments.
Earlier this season, linebacker Peter Jinkens gave the same response to the same question.
Still, at least one senior co-signs on Strong’s complaint.
“He’s right,” guard Sedrick Flowers said. “He’s been doing this longer than we have. I can say we’re leading, but he knows what it looks like when leaders lead, especially a senior taking control of a team. There’s times when we’re all standing up saying ‘let’s get going’ and there’s times where no one’s saying anything.”
Rocky ride: Mirroring the trajectory of the season, the plane carrying home the Longhorns from Ames hit a patch of turbulence and dropped.
Suddenly, that 24-0 loss was put into perspective.
“We all thought it was over with,” linebacker Malik Jefferson said.
Jinkens added, “I thought I was gone.”
And the flight attendant wasn’t easing anyone’s mind.
“The lady’s supposed to be calm, but she sounded nervous,” Jefferson said.
At 3 a.m., the plane landed safely in Austin.
“Our pilot did a great job of getting us through the airwaves,” Johnathan Gray said.
Latest line: Has Vegas been out partying too much? Despite Saturday’s clunker, oddsmakers installed Texas as a 31.5-point favorite over winless Kansas. The line has since dropped, albeit slightly, to 29 points.
The over/under for Saturday is 54 points scored.
Not only are both teams struggling, but they’re also bad against the spread; Texas is 3-5, KU 2-6.
Staring at 0-12, the Jayhawks have been outscored 254-57 in Big 12 games and have been held to 20 points or fewer in all five games.
On Monday, first-year Jayhawks coach David Beaty said he’s using just 67 of 85 allotted scholarships.