Disciplined Strong develops stingy Texas defense


Brian Achenbach/Iowa State Daily

ISU junior running back Aaron Wimberly hits the gap and takes off for a touchdown during the Cyclones 31-30 loss to the Longhorns on Oct. 3 at Jack Trice Stadium.

Beau Berkley

It didn’t take long for Charlie Strong to make his presence known in Austin. 

The Texas football team underwent a major change at the end of last season when former coach Mack Brown resigned, opening the door for new coach Strong. But that wouldn’t be the last major personnel change for the Longhorns. 

Strong has gained national notoriety as a bit of a disciplinarian, kicking nine players off of the team since March, most recently offensive tackle Kennedy Estelle, who started nine games throughout his career including the 2014 season opener. 

“Charlie has made changes and Charlie is a sensational coach and he’s a great disciplinarian, he’s a disciplinarian for the better,” said ISU coach Paul Rhoads. “He’s a guy that it’s not all about X’s and O’s, he’s in the business of raising young men and I admire that.”

Rhoads said that if the Longhorns have a weak spot, it is their depth. 

“They’re down in depth because they have lost a number of players off their roster,” Rhoads said. “Any time there’s nine guys that were there months ago and aren’t there now, you’re going to have some thin spots, so I think that’s a piece of it.”

Despite a lack of depth, the Longhorns aren’t showing any signs of weakness on the defensive side of the ball. 

Texas has proved to be one of the stoutest defenses in the country thus far, boasting the best passing defense in the Big 12 by holding opponents to 133.7 yards per game, which is also the third best average in the NCAA. 

Texas also has 21 sacks on the year, tied with Baylor for the most in the Big 12, and Iowa State is currently giving up 2.17 sacks per game to opponents. 

What makes Texas’ stats all the more impressive is the fact that they have already played No. 4 Baylor, a team that is averaging 52.7 points per game but were held to 28 against Texas. 

Hot off their performance from the Toledo game this past weekend, where Iowa State racked up 454 yards of total offense, offensive coordinator Mark Mangino said their are still improvements to be made heading into Texas and later on as the backend of the schedule begins. 

“In some areas in our tight end and wide receiver positions [we need to] clean up some routes and recognize a few things a little quicker, obviously we ned to run the football better,” Mangino said. 

But given Iowa State’s offensive success against Toledo, this weekend might be the best time to face Texas at their home turf. 

“This is one of the storied programs in college football and any time you get to play Texas, whether its at home or in Austin, it’s a great challenge and our guys look forward to it,” Rhoads said.