Sunday, February 18, 2018
  • USF Sports Bulletin
  • Joey Knight

One possible reason Charlie Strong isn’t aboard coaching carousel

The RPMs are escalating at a dizzying pace. Rarely has college football's coaching carousel spun this wildly this early. Expectant mothers definitely shouldn't climb aboard, even if they're asked to apply for the Tennessee job.

Yet even as this crazy ride harnesses centrifugal force, one prominent name remains absent from it.

Charlie Strong.

The Florida, Ole Miss and Mississippi State jobs were vacated and filled with Strong never emerging as a serious candidate. He doesn't appear to be in play for the gig at Arkansas, his native state. He's not among the masses to have interviewed for the Vols job.

And while his name has been linked by some to the fresh vacancy at FSU, it is widely believed to be Willie Taggart's job to turn down.

So why not Strong, whose mediocre three-year tenure was sandwiched by a splendid run at Louisville and a 9-2 season at USF? We've asked around, and the general agreement is, Strong's standing on the wrong side of the ball.

At a time when everyone's seemingly pursuing offensive "splash hires," Strong's a defensive guy. A widely  heralded one to be sure, but a defensive guy nonetheless.

Think about it: An offensive guy (Jimbo Fisher) is headed to Texas A&M and very could be replaced by an offensive guy (Taggart or perhaps Virginia Tech's Justin Fuente). Mississippi State just hired an offensive guy (Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead) to replace the offensive guy (Dan Mullen) hired at UF.

Whom does Nebraska covet for its opening? A native son and former Huskers star (Scott Frost) who also happens to be — you guessed it — an offensive guy.

About the only defensive dudes in line for jobs have been Herm Edwards at Arizona State and Greg Schiano at Tennessee, and we know how the latter turned out.

Not terribly long ago, some reasonably could have questioned whether Strong's race was keeping him from getting a job. And it's still safe to suggest his 16-21 tenure at Texas has turned off some prospective employers.

But perhaps more than anything, it's the fact he draws up blitzes instead of bubble screens.

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