BEVO BEAT Football

Updates from Charlie Strong’s presser: Bring on Baylor

Posted September 29th, 2014

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What’s the big news from Bellmont Hall?

No big news on the suspensions, nothing regarding injuries. Texas (2-2, 1-0) hosts No. 7 Baylor on Saturday, a nationally-televised afternoon game (ABC) that has all the makings for a lopsided home loss.

Charlie Strong, however, sounds like a realist. He acknowledged that Texas rightfully should be a two-touchdown underdog. Baylor — specifically its offense, which Strong likened to a video game — has the nation’s top-ranked offense that’s putting up 50 points and 600 yards a game.

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How can Texas pull off the upset? Strong presented his case.

What Texas can’t do, Strong said, is try to match Baylor’s firepower. It’s not as simple as establishing the run. That might not work anyway; Malcolm Brown (53 carries for 191 yards and 2 TDs) and Johnathan Gray (50-222-0) haven’t gotten much momentum as a patchwork line struggles to open holes in front of them. Strong pointed out that what gets teams in trouble against the Bears is that feeling of having to match a quick-strike score.

“They’re scoring so quick that when you try to match score for score, you can’t,” Strong said. “So then your offense tries to match them, and all of a sudden their offense is back on the field in two minutes, three minutes.”

So, instead, Strong said the Longhorns’ plan should be to mix it up offensively, run some time off the clock, produce drives, avoid mistakes and turnovers, play smart on defense, and win special teams.

Simple. Right?

“It’s amazing to see how that team’s developed over the last three or four years,” Strong said. “… They play so well. They play as a team. But just to where (Art Briles) has built that team and put it together, that’s probably why we are where we are and why they are where they are, with the No. 1 offense in the country.”

Other updates:

Another week, another suspensions question: Strong got two of them today, actually, as reporters tried to get some details. Didn’t happen. Strong did say this, though: First, that there has not yet been a decision on whether right tackle Desmond Harrison or receiver Daje Johnson would play or miss Saturday’s game (“That’s still to be decided,” Strong said). Second, Strong said he is going to sit down with both players this week “and see where we’re going.”

On Bryce Petty: Strong was asked if Baylor’s quarterback reminds him of anyone he’s ever seen, in terms of style of play. He answered Danny Wuerffel, who won the 1996 Heisman Trophy at Florida while Strong was on the Gators’ staff.

“He’s the leader of that team,” Strong said of Petty. “He releases the ball (quickly). He hasn’t taken any sacks. He’s just so heady.”

On strength of schedule: Texas has faced North Texas, BYU and UCLA — three bowl teams from 2013. Baylor has drawn SMU, Northwestern State and Buffalo. Advantage Texas?

Nah, Strong said.

“I don’t think that comes into play at all,” he said. “At the end of the day, they’re running their offense … (and) when they play a team, they’re going to (try to) blow them out, and it doesn’t matter who they’re playing.”

Where in the world is Steve Edmond?: There was no sign Monday of senior linebacker Steve Edmond, who made inflammatory comments about Baylor over the offseason. Jordan Hicks was available for interviews, though.

On Roger Goodell: Strong, who met with embattled NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in Austin on Sunday, clarified his answer to our own Brian Davis‘ question Saturday night, when he told us no meeting had been scheduled.

Strong says he received a phone call Sunday morning from former NFL cornerback Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive VP of football operations, who asked if Strong could meet with Goodell, who was in town.

What did they talk about?

“It was all about just trying to build a relationship with the college coaches, and dealing with young people and all about character and picking the right people, and some of the issues we’re dealing with at this level.”

“It was more about, not so much our core values, but we talked about just the character of athletes,” Strong added. “I said to him what’s happening in the NFL, we’re sending you some players too of questionable character, then you’re giving them a lot of money. So it’s anything goes. All of a sudden, you’ve got a guy with a lot of money and he’s not making the right decisions.

“I said whenever a young man knows that you care about him and he can trust you, then you can get a lot of things done with him. You have to build a relationship. When 95 percent are doing it right, and 5 percent aren’t, they’re going to look at you (and say) what are you going to do about it?”

Building a relationship? Doesn’t just about every NFL player’s career start with a Goodell chest bump?

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