UT's Strong not 'desperate' despite reports of looming dismissal

Texas coach Charlie Strong has made a big midseason change to his coaching staff for the second time in two years, but the Longhorns coach said Monday that times have not reached a point of desperation when asked about a Sports Illustrated report that his job is in significant jeopardy.

Strong announced Monday he will take over the Longhorns' beleaguered defense from assistant coach Vance Bedford, who will move from the defensive coordinator role to secondary coach. Strong took offensive play-calling duties away from Shawn Watson last year, who was out at the end of the season along with coordinator Joe Wickline.

"I don't think it's desperate times, desperate measures," Strong said on Monday, per the Dallas Morning News.

One wouldn't know that by watching the Longhorns' 49-31 loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday. Along with all sorts of problems on special teams (Texas had three PATs blocked), the defense missed tackles throughout the contest and yielded 555 yards in total offense. Texas is 2-2 on the season, and has allowed 47 points to Notre Dame, 43 to Cal, and 49 to OSU.

Strong's takeover of the UT defense comes just as the unit prepares to face a high-powered Oklahoma offense in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday. The Sooners feature veteran QB Baker Mayfield and one of the nation's top rushing tandems in Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon.

"I told our players, 'We have eight games left, you go play and let me worry about rest,'" Strong said, per Horns Digest.

If Strong is out at season's end after just three years, two of the biggest coaching jobs in college football will be open in Texas and LSU. The Tigers already have fired former coach Les Miles, and are 1-0 under interim coach Ed Orgeron following a blowout win over Missouri on Saturday.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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