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Following Cal loss, Charlie Strong says he's considering staff changes

Charlie Strong's second honeymoon at Texas lasted two weeks. We all remember this image, right? From just 15 days ago?


I wrote after that Labor Day Sunday win that peaking against the best teams on the schedule has never been the problem with Strong's Longhorns. It's been giving an Oklahoma or Notre Dame effort when the Sooners or the Irish isn't the opponent -- particularly on the road. And that issue presented itself again early Sunday morning in the Bay Area.

The positive vibes surrounding the Texas program that Notre Dame win, a new offensive staff and a new playbook, a fast finish to the 2016 recruiting class and a top-15 ranking found its end in Berkeley as the Longhorns turned a 24-14 second quarter lead into a 50-43 loss to a Cal team beaten by San Diego State just one week prior.

Also: it's worth remembering Strong's decision making didn't exactly help his defense. Down 50-43 with 1:41 remaining and two timeouts, Strong elected to punt rather than go for a last-gasp 4th-and-10 at his own 21. The next Longhorn to touch the ball was safety Dylan Haines, picking up a non-touchdown touchdown that really should've made the final score 57-43.

Making his regular weekly media rounds, Strong said Monday morning he's considering staff changes.

Strong has overseen a high amount of staff changes in his relatively short time at Texas. Two seasons and three games in, only two of his nine original assistants remain -- defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach (and former Longhorn defensive back) Vance Bedford and linebackers coach/recruiting coordinator Brian Jean-Mary.

Strong's original defensive backs coach Chris Vaughn was let go in February not due to poor performance, but for his involvement in recruiting violations during a previous stint at Ole Miss.

The Horns survived an explosive night from DeShone Kizer, who hit 14 of his 23 passes for 215 yards and five touchdowns, plus another 77 yards and a TD on the ground. But the offense wasn't able to bail out the defense against Cal, and Davis Webb took advantage by connecting on 27-of-40 throws for 396 yards and four touchdowns. Three weeks into this young season, Texas ranks 69th nationally in yards per play allowed, 120th in pass efficiency defense, and is one 14 teams nationally without an interception.

The schedule allows Strong and Texas some time to breath with an off week before opening Big 12 play at Oklahoma State on Oct. 1. But whatever the answers Strong is searching for, he needs to find them quickly.

And Patrick Mahomes (the nation's leading passer), Kenny Hill (No. 7), Mason Rudolph (No. 8), Baker Mayfiled (No. 28) and Seth Russell (No. 34) lay ahead on the schedule.