Slocum to Spurrier: Charlie Strong discusses his influences
During a Friday morning sit-down with three Tampa Bay Times reporters in his new Selmon Center office, Bulls football coach Charlie Strong discussed some of the most prominent bosses for whom he has worked in his 3 1/2-decade coaching career. Here's a little of what he had to say about each:
(Strong worked as a graduate-assistant at Texas A&M in 1985, when Slocum was the Aggies' defensive coordinator)
"Unbelievable coach. Really my defensive philosophy is what I learned from him, because at that time when I was at A&M, they were just an attacking (defense). ... He would always blitz; R.C. blitzed all the time. ... It used to be cover-three, you'd play three-deep, and with him it was like, 'Hey, play man, rush that quarterback, put pressure on him.'"
(Strong was Holtz's defensive line coach at Notre Dame in 1995-96, and his defensive coordinator at South Carolina from 1999-02)
"The thing where Lou was so good with us is, you had to dot your I's and you had to cross your T's. ... He'll sit there and he'll say, 'Hey Charlie, what about (so-and-so),' And you're like, 'Well Coach, he's doing really good, he's taking care of his business,' and he's setting you up. So if he calls a kid's name, you'd better know exactly what's going on with the kid. And then he's like, 'Hey, hey, hey...he got an F in English!' But I knew what he was doing, so I was always up on every kid, and the other coaches didn't know it. ... He was a fundamental coach. It's all fundamentals with him, and he's still like that."
(Strong was a defensive assistant for Spurrier at Florida from 1991-94)
"I just thought that he was just so far ahead of the game in his time. You think about the run that Florida made. Think about it, everybody in college football was coming to the University of Florida and trying to learn his offense. Everybody was. And he wasn't saying much, because there was more of him. And he was one of those guys that would sit on the sideline and he'd watch a play and say, 'Run the same play, throw it to the tight end. Just run the same play. Danny (Wuerffel), run the same play.' ... I just felt like, at that time, he was so far ahead of the game. ... People now talk about, 'Hey, get the ball in the athletes' hands.' He found a way to do it then, and that was the early '90s."
(Strong was a defensive coordinator on Meyer's 2006 and '08 national title teams at UF)
"What people don't want to really give him credit for is just his football knowledge, but also how he deals with the players. He does an unbelievable job of dealing with the players. ... I can remember having this conversation with Urban. He was at Utah and I was at Florida, and I said, 'If you come in here and come in here with some discipline, you're gonna win a national championship. I'm just telling you right now, it is loaded with talent.' ... And then all of the sudden, boom, he comes in and just takes off. Then he's able to recruit after that with Tebow and the Pounceys and those guys. But just the connection that he had with his players that kind of separated him from everyone else, because he was a guy that, it is player development with him, and he wants you involved with the players -- all the way involved."