Texas head coach Charlie Strong before the Iowa State game at Royal-Memorial Stadium, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016. (Stephen Spillman / for American-Statesman)

Football

Staff takeaways: Second half of season will offer lots of drama for Longhorns

Posted October 19th, 2016

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Texas is halfway through its season, sitting at 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the Big 12. Here’s our staff’s half-season thoughts.

STAFF TAKES

Brian Davis: Eight wins … or else?

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These days, I get the same question: What’s Texas going to do about Charlie Strong? I always give the same answer: I don’t know. Nobody does. Oh sure, there are key donors in UT President Gregory L. Fenves’ ear demanding a change, just as there are supporters who want Strong to stay. I hard from them both, too. One side uses CAPITAL LETTERS while the other uses exclamation points!!! The reality is that Texas has a lot of football left. Strong and his staff probably need to win eight games this season to feel safe. Anything less and Fenves has an extremely difficult decision to make.

Texas Longhorns Jordan Strickland and Poona Ford chase downIowa State Cyclones Joel Lanning during the second half of a NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016 at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium/Jamail Field, Austin, Texas. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Texas Longhorns Jordan Strickland and Poona Ford chase downIowa State Cyclones Joel Lanning during the second half of a NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016 at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium/Jamail Field, Austin, Texas. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman)

Danny Davis: A tale of two defenses

A Sterlin Gilbert offense that features a 1,500-yard freshman passer, a cavalcade of pass-catchers and one of the nation’s top running backs has been fun to watch. The defense, though, is still a work in progress, though that unit has played six good quarters in the two games Charlie Strong has served as defensive coordinator. Texas is ranked 23rd nationally in scoring, but three that are ranked higher remain on the schedule — Texas Tech, Baylor and TCU — so we’ll soon see how improved this defense is.

Kirk Bohls: Lots of second-half drama

The second half of this season offers the most intrigue since Mack Brown’s final year, when he came within a hair of beating Baylor for the Big 12 championship but instead was out of a job a week later. Charlie Strong’s job also is in jeopardy, and he probably needs to win at least four of the last six. I get the sense that the Texas powers and deep pockets think Strong is already done, but Strong can save his job with an 8-4 record, maybe 7-5 if his Longhorns play well and are competitive in the last half of the season.

Texas' Derrick Johnson brings down Kansas State's Darren Sproles during Texas' last win in Manhattan in 2002. (Deborah Cannon/American-Statesman)
Texas’ Derrick Johnson brings down Kansas State’s Darren Sproles during Texas’ last win in Manhattan in 2002. (Deborah Cannon/American-Statesman)

Cedric Golden: It starts in Manhattan

Texas fans have gotten signature wins from this team since Charlie Strong got here, but they’ve often not been met with any follow-up. The Notre Dame win didn’t lead to any great streak. Last year’s wins over Oklahoma and Kansas State preceded a shocking shutout loss at Iowa State. Now is the time for Texas to get some real momentum going. Iowa State was a start, but a road win at historical house of horrors Kansas State could give the Longhorns some needed momentum. We’ll see if this is Texas’ time to end a losing streak on one end and start a mini-winning streak on the other.

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