Charlie Strong talked about being tough and winning championships. That is exactly what Texas fans wanted to hear from their new football coach.
There’s little doubt he can deliver the first. The second part will determine whether he can revive a dormant program and push it back among the national elite where the Longhorns are desperately longing to be.
“It’s time to put the program back on the national stage,” Strong said Monday at his introductory news conference. “The mentality is always going to be mental and physical toughness … We will be a hardnosed football team.”
That’s the reputation Strong brings to Texas, which has floundered since playing for the 2009 national championship. Four seasons of at least four losses and no Big 12 titles ended with Mack Brown exiting after 16 years, and Texas turning to the coach who led Louisville to a 23-3 mark and two bowl wins the last two seasons.
Strong also had a reputation of being uncomfortable with the media, but with his wife and two daughters sitting in the front row watching him, he breezed through his 45-minute news conference with smiles and jokes before ending with the trademark “Hook’em Horns” hand signal for the cameras.
“Let’s go win football games,” Strong said. “Let’s go win championships.”
Rematches not welcome
BCS executive director Bill Hancock said the selection committee for the College Football Playoff will try to avoid rematches, but not at the expense of the integrity of the seedings.
Hancock spoke to the Football Writers Association of America on Monday. He said the top priority of the selection committee will be to make sure the No. 1 team plays close to home and the teams are properly seeded.
Using this season’s final BCS standings, and next season’s semifinal sites, the final four would have been No. 1 Florida State playing No. 4 Michigan State in the Sugar Bowl and No. 2 Auburn playing No. 3 Alabama in the Rose Bowl.
Hancock said seeding adjustments will only be made if teams are considered even.
Iowa State hires Mangino
Former Kansas coach Mark Mangino has been hired as the offensive coordinator at Iowa State.
Mangino spent eight seasons as the coach at Kansas, winning national coach of the year honors in 2007 and leading the Jayhawks to a win in the Orange Bowl. But Mangino was fired following the 2009 season amid accusations of treating his players poorly.
Mangino was 50-48 at Kansas. He spent three seasons out of football before serving as the assistant head coach at Youngstown State last year.
Hundley staying at UCLA
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley has decided to return to the Bruins for his junior season.
Hundley officially announced his decision Monday.
Hundley has started for the last two seasons under coach Jim Mora, winning 19 games and establishing himself as one of the nation’s top young quarterbacks.
Hundley, who redshirted one season under coach Rick Neuheisel, already ranks among the most prolific quarterbacks in UCLA history with 6,816 yards passing.
Also staying in school is Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion.
Mannion, who has already graduated with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies, set the Pac-12 single-season record for passing yards with 4,662 this past season. He threw an Oregon State-record 37 touchdown passes.
Players who announced on Monday their intention to enter the draft include:
• Florida linebacker Ronald Powell, a 6-foot-4, 244-pound junior from Moreno Valley, Calif. He was the nation’s top high school recruit in 2010. He played in 11 games in 2013, leading the team with four sacks.
• Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt, a 6-foot-6, 312-pounder who was projected as a second-round pick by the NFL draft advisory board. He finishes his career with 126 tackles and 21.5 sacks, leaving him tied for third on Notre Dame’s sack list.
• Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles and running back Storm Johnson. Bortles passed for more than 3,500 yards and 25 touchdowns, while completing 68 percent of his passes in UCF’s 12-1 season. Johnson rushed for more than 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns in his first year as the starter.
• Big 12 rushing champ Lache Seastrunk of Baylor. The Oregon transfer played two seasons at Baylor, and was the first player in school history with two 1,000-yard rushing seasons.
• Alabama-Birmingham running back Darrin Reaves, who is third on UAB’s career rushing charts with 2,337 yards.