Following his loss to Alabama in the 2010 BCS National Championship, Mack Brown pledged to build his team more like the one that had just beaten him. His reasoning made sense. After seeing your franchise quarterback exit the game five snaps in - and take any realistic hope your team had of winning the game with him to the locker room - it's certainly understandable that a coach would want to construct his team in such a way that it wouldn't be paralyzed without one certain player on the field.
But then, following a 2012 season that saw Baylor, Oklahoma and seemingly the rest of the Big 12 race up and down the field at a pace that would challenge for the pole position at Daytona. Again, this made sense on the surface. Why swim up stream against such a prevailing current?
The result, though, was a 2013 Texas team that was caught in the middle between two opposing ideas, ending with an 8-5 mark and a new head coach in Charlie Strong.
In a recent interview with the Austin American-Statesman, Strong laid out his philosophy in building a team. Unsurprisingly, it's as straightforward as he is. “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.”
Following National Signing Day, Strong explained his recruiting philosophy of using his first 10 scholarships on the 10 best available players, spending his next 10 at positions of need, and then saving his final five for late bloomers. “And at the end of the day, you’re going to win with that second 10,” Strong said. “That top 10, they’re going to be more concerned about themselves. Ten, ten, five. I just think you’ve got to start off and categorize them.
As for how he wants to disperse those scholarships? Strong would like to Texas' numbers at offensive line by as much as 50 percent, from the current number of 12 up to 15 or 18. Texas currently carries 10 defensive linemen; Strong wants 14. Add in his optimal number of six tight ends (Texas currently has five), and the Longhorns will devote up to 45 percent of their 85 available scholarships on big guys.
“Me personally, I want to go big,” Strong said. “You win big. You win with guys up front on your defensive front and win with guys on your offensive line. That’s going to tell me whether we’re going to be a physical football team when we can get those guys.”