"It's all about putting the T back into Texas," Charlie Strong began. Toughness, Trust, Togetherness, Team.
The first question was about recruiting, and Strong was asked how he felt the staff had done in Texas. "Recruiting is a year-long process," he observed, and stressed the relationship-building with high school coaches.
He was then asked how big this job is, or whether coaching football is just coaching football. He skewed toward the latter.
Asked about "It's all about academics. They're in school to get a degree."
Strong was asked what he expects from Tyrone Swoops, and leaned on competition and improvement; rather rote answer.
The expectation of a national championship was next, and Strong trotted out the usual response: never worry about winning the national championship, take care of business week-to-week, so on. "One day you wake up and you're the national champion," he said.
"We're not as bad as we used to be," Strong surprisingly said, "but we still have a lot of work to do." This was in reference to where the program is now. A somewhat startling comment, and a stinging (if unintentional) condemnation of the previous regime.
Asked about how he motivates, and if fear is a factor, Strong laughed. "It's all about pride within the program," Strong said; perhaps a reference to suggestions that maybe the team cohesion wasn't there in previous years.
Strong was asked about the talent he's got at hand right now. He's pretty happy with David Ash and the running backs, but seems concerned about his receiving corps and the linebackers.
A followup to the motivation question was how he's feeling about the toughness of the roster during the summer, but he somewhat dodged the question, saying he'd have to get with his strength coach, but that he thinks their attitude is promising.
Finally, Strong was asked about his relationship with Bob Stoops, and his response contained the word "respect" about a billion times.
Strong has been, with some justification, panned as a speaker. But while he did resort to several rote answers today, he was mostly on point talking about his players individually and wasn't shy about noting the deficiencies in the program. One gets the sense that Strong is preparing the fanbase for a rocky first year, while still trying to maintain optimism.
That wraps up the coaches' press conferences for this year's Media Days. Football is upon us, folks. Breathe it in.