BYU football: Hill-led rout triggered big changes at Texas
Provo • BYU fans will always remember it as the stormy night Typhoon Taysom obliterated Texas.
For the Longhorns, however, last September’s 40-21 loss at LaVell Edwards Stadium was much more than a disappointment.
The shockingly lopsided defeat, which started after a two-hour delay because slashing wind, driving rain and spectacular lightening rolled across Utah Lake just before kickoff, shook one of college football’s elite programs to its foundation.
The fallout began immediately.
After BYU quarterback Taysom Hill ran for 259 yards and three touchdowns, longtime coach Mack Brown declared the Longhorns’ level of play was "unacceptable. ... We didn’t get our job done as players and coaches."
One day later, Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was fired. The rare in-season dismissal of an assistant spoke volumes about the doubt, anger and mistrust BYU had created within the football power structure in Austin and across the state.
Brown would be next.
He survived the season, which turned out to be respectable (8-5). But the whispers that began after the loss in Provo grew louder and louder. By the end, they had become a demand for action.
In December — one step ahead of the posse — Brown resigned. His last game as the coach at Texas was a 30-7 loss to Oregon in the Alamo Bowl.
Less than a month later, Charlie Strong was named to replace Brown. He signed a five-year, $25 million contract to become the first African-American coach of any men’s team at Texas. He is the only African-American head football coach in the Big 12 Conference.
When he was hired, Strong said, "The program is going to be about physical and mental toughness." He also vowed to rid the Texas football of what he called a growing and destructive "sense of entitlement" among its players.
Apparently, Strong meant what he said.
Five Longhorns were quickly and permanently kicked off the team because, according to media reports in Texas, they were unwilling to accept the new "core values" of the program.
At the start of preseason camp, Strong had the Longhorn decals removed from all helmets, saying they would return only when the players earned the honor of having them put back.
Off the field, upperclassmen were no longer to live off-campus, where behavior not endorsed by the coaching staff was more likely to occur.
At Big 12 media days this summer, senior defensive back Quandre Diggs claimed the players being impacted by the stricter rules of the new regime have embraced them.
"... We had guys that just didn’t love football the way they should," he said.
Heading into Saturday night’s rematch against BYU, Texas is 1-0. In Strong’s debut, the Longhorns rolled to a 38-7 victory over North Texas last weekend.