It’s rough being Charlie Strong these days.
After Texas’ embarrassing loss to Kansas on Saturday, the Longhorns fell to 5-6 and 3-5 in the Big 12 Conference. For a coach already on the hot seat, losing to the Jayhawks is like having a 10-ton boulder drop on your head-coaching career. Many assume Strong won’t own his current job title in a few weeks.
Here’s a logical question given the weekend’s developments: What’s next for him?
Here are five possibilities for Strong’s future, with No. 1 being the most interesting:
1. He becomes Florida’s defensive coordinator
Back to the future! Strong would be a logical choice to become the Gators’ defensive coordinator if Geoff Collins lands a head-coaching job. Collins was a possibility to become UCF’s head coach after last season, and Florida’s defense has impressed this year during the Gators’ run to a second consecutive SEC East title. Strong has had multiple stints with Florida, with his most recent a run as a defensive coordinator/linebackers coach during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. The familiarity could work in his favor.
2. He becomes LSU’s defensive coordinator
This might be long shot, but it would be delicious. The scenario requires that LSU move past interim coach Ed Orgeron and that current defensive coordinator Dave Aranda go elsewhere. The Tigers’ defense has been strong this season, so LSU would need someone who can prevent a huge dip in production on that side of the ball if a new regime arrives. Strong’s background with Florida would add flavor to the already spicy rivalry between the Tigers and Gators.
3. He becomes Arkansas’ defensive coordinator
This would be fun. Coordinator Robb Smith has struggled to make the Razorbacks’ defense a consistent performer this season. Strong’s experience in the SEC could be what coach Bret Bielema needs to breathe life into the group. Like Lane Kiffin has done at Alabama, Strong could revive his career with a few solid seasons in the rough-and-tumble SEC West.
4. He becomes Ohio State’s defensive coordinator
It’s hard to see this happening, but current Buckeyes defensive coordinator Greg Schiano has significant experience as a head coach in both the college ranks and in the NFL. If Schiano leaves to become a head coach again after this season, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer would be wise to look for an experienced-and-talented defensive mind to oversee the Buckeyes’ unit as the program tries to remain among the country’s elite. This would be a high-pressure situation, but Strong could prove a bunch here in a short time.
5. He remains at Texas
This option is included in the off chance that Strong pulls a Les Miles-like resurrection in Austin. Anything remains possible, but it’s so hard to see Strong surviving all the heat around him. At this point, why would he want to stay at Texas? Life is too short to face the flames for too long.