The 53-year-old Strong was named coach at Texas on Jan. 5. He led Louisville to a combined 23--3 record in 2012 and '13, and was defensive coordinator on two national title teams at Florida.
DAN PATRICK:What's your office look like right now?
CHARLIE STRONG: Right now it's empty. I haven't been able to open up any boxes and get things out. I've just been going, going, going. It's been fun, but it's been a lot of work so far.
DP:Were there hard feelings from people back in Louisville?
CS: A lot of them understand. But there's always going to be hard feelings. Especially when you built something from the ground up.
DP:Was quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's decision to go pro a factor?
CS: Teddy didn't affect my decision. I had a great relationship with Teddy. We had enough people coming back; Teddy was the only player leaving off the offense.
DP:You're the first African-American coach of a men's team at Texas. How significant is that to you?
CS: You look across the country, and there aren't many opportunities given to African-American coaches. I look at it like this: We are African-American, but at the end of the day we are football coaches. You're going to get judged on wins and losses. But not many opportunities come to us.
DP:How upset are you by influential booster Red McCombs's saying, "It was a kick in the face" that you got hired?
CS: There's going to be statements made. You can't worry about that. You just move on. You have a job to do. You can't worry about what people say. I'm going to get judged by my work here.
DP:I would have been upset. It doesn't affect you?
CS: Once you win some football games, you're going to change a lot of people's attitudes.
DP:Those expectations are pretty high at Texas.
CS: They're high everywhere. You have to win. Anywhere you go people expect it. When I was at Louisville, we were 7--6 and 7--6. Then we went 11--2 and 12--1, and sometimes people think you should have gone undefeated.
DP:Blake Bortles and UCF came into Louisville and beat you. What do you think of Bortles as a pro prospect?
CS: I loved Blake Bortles out of high school. I recruited him out of Oviedo High right outside Orlando. He's an outstanding player, a physical player. I think he and Teddy both are going to be high draft picks.
DP:What did you do with all your Louisville gear?
CS: I have friends at Louisville I've given it to. It's a place you hate to leave because of the relationships I built there.
DP:Now you have to buy some burnt orange ties.
CS: They won't be hard to find.
ESPN's Dan Le Batard discussed the reaction from baseball writers after he gave his Hall of Fame ballot to Deadspin. "I don't blame them for being mad," he said. "But if I were constructing a system, I would have someone with better qualifications than me on the [selection] committee." ... Joe Montana says the top passers from his era would thrive under the NFL's new rules: "I can't even imagine [Dan Marino] playing today, with his ability to get rid of the ball quickly. He's probably the most underrated on [the list of great QBs]." ... Bob Costas reflected on the backlash from his comments comparing certain winter Olympic sports with Jackass. "This is the kind of thing that I have been saying on the air for 30 years," Costas told me. "But now if that ticks off 500 people, they can go on social media and the reaction can seem like a torrent when it's actually just a trickle."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
JIM SIGMON/UT ATHLETICS (STRONG)
JOE FARAONI/ESPN IMAGES (LE BATARD)
ROBERT BECK/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (MONTANA)
EVAN AGOSTINI/AP (COSTAS)