In Sunday’s American-Statesman, Texas coach Charlie Strong outlined his philosophical belief about shaping the roster. By all appearances, he’s going to build Texas into an SEC-style team from the inside out.
“I’m big into linemen,” Strong said. “I tell these guys all the time, ‘I’ll find a little guy.’ I want big guys. Big guys are hard to find. And big guys beat up little guys.”
Every college coach must manage the allotted 85 scholarships with the same meticulous attention to detail that NFL teams devote to an active 53-man roster.
Strong told the American-Statesman he’s willing to commit 31 of his 85 scholarships to offensive and defensive linemen and possibly lighten up at running back and receiver.
There are currently 12 offensive linemen on scholarship; Strong wants 15 to 18. There are 10 defensive linemen; Strong wants 14. His message was heard loud and clear over the weekend during Texas’ annual “junior day” recruiting festivites. Huntsville offensive lineman Ronnie Major (6-foot-6, 290 pounds) flipped his commitment to Texas from Baylor.
And some fans may faint over this: Strong wants more tight ends. Texas currently has five; he wants six, again highlighting the importance of blocking within the offense. In recent years, that’s been the most unproductive position on the field.
Strong likes the fact that Texas already carries 12 linebackers, even though “a lot of them are beat up,” he said. He’d like to get four more cornerbacks and a few more safeties.
So what’s getting sacrificed? Texas needs at least one more quarterback, Strong said, but future rosters could see one fewer running back and maybe two receivers.
“This is what we’re striving for, but we’re never going to turn down a good player,” Strong said. “If there’s an outstanding player there at wide receiver, yes, I’m going to take him.”
Managing the roster is a nonstop process. Strong has said he wants to see the players go through spring drills before suggesting anyone change positions.
But his philosophical approach to roster makeup and the overall position numbers make up the backbone of how the Longhorns will look going forward.
“We have our board, and we know what we want. But it’s all a mix-and-match game,” Strong said. “You’ve got to put it all together and really have to massage it. But the key is you have a system in place so you know where you’d like to be.”
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