On Thursday, Brian Jones reported that, based on what he was hearing, the odds of Charlie Strong returning to Texas next season were a coin flip.
On Friday, Dennis Dodd confirmed that he is hearing the same.
“I think right now it’s 50/50,” the CBSSports.com senior college football columnist said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I think he’s conflicted. I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes either way. It’s the peace of mind at Miami right now with a pay cut versus the fact that Charlie thinks they’re going to be really good next year and he doesn’t want to give that up. He’s recruited well, he thinks they’re going to turn the corner, but you have to balance that with a couple injuries, you go 7-5 and maybe you get fired. So I think he’s conflicted right now.”
There were reports that Strong reached out to Miami before beating Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry. Jones and Dodd are not 100 percent sure if that is true, but it’s very possible, if not likely, that that occurred.
“I talked to someone yesterday that is very close to him and (he said that Strong is) weighing both options,” Dodd said. “So how it happened, I don’t know. But obviously Miami got wind that he’s interested and they would have a fine coach if they chose to go that route.”
Strong is 10-13 at Texas. He’s lost eight of 12 overall and will very likely finish 4-8 this season. Will there still be legitimate interest in a guy who goes 4-8 in his second year at a major program, or will schools dismiss the record given that Strong essentially had to wipe the Texas slate clean and start over?
“I think that’s a great question,” Dodd said. “I think there will be factions at Miami that’ll go, ‘Wait a minute. We’re hiring a 4-8 coach?’ Even though he’s got great roots there, he’s a great recruiter, yeah, that will be a factor. I think there was a time there when they were all over Mario Cristobal, the offensive line coach at Alabama, and that may still be the way they go. But there are so many factions, so many people wanting a piece of the pie, wanting to get the job. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. I’m just saying (the powers that be) have to come together to get one guy.”
If Strong leaves Texas or is fired, Nick Saban would probably be No. 1 on the Longhorns’ wish list. Dodd, who spent time with Saban a few weeks ago, said the Alabama coach looked “really relaxed and satisfied” in Tuscaloosa. If Saban were to leave Alabama, it might be for the NFL, where his age (64) – in the words of Dodd – “translates a lot better to the pros.”
But if Texas cuts ties with Strong, rest assured that Saban will be hotly pursued.
“I can’t predict what he would do,” Dodd said, “but that has to be (Texas’) first call.”