Presser Notes

Charlie Strong held his introductory press conference for the 2014 season on Sunday afternoon as players started to trickle into the Moncrief-Neuhaus athletic center. Practice starts on Monday.

Here’s a look at the most pertinent takeaways:

Strong confirmed HD’s reports that Joe Bergeron, Chevoski Collins and Jalen Overstreet have been dismissed and been granted releases from the program.

“The three that were dismissed were repeat offenders,” Strong said. “It was over, and over, and over. At some point you have to do something. When guys continuously do things that they shouldn’t be doing they are sending the message that they don’t care. I don’t want that in our program.”

Strong also said that Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander are no longer members of the program and will not have a chance to rejoin the team after they were charged with sexually assaulting a female Texas student in Meander’s room in the San Jacinto Residence Hall in the early morning hours of June 21.

Sanders faces an additional charge of improper photography for allegedly taking a photo during the assault that University of Texas police later found on his phone, according to court records.

In addition, Strong announced that Desmond Harrison, Daje Johnson and Josh Turner have been suspended for an undisclosed number of games for violating team rules.

“They will miss a game for sure,” Strong said. “Haven’t decided on number of games.”

Strong did say they all committed the same offense but didn’t say which one.

“We don’t know how many games but games will be taken away from them because we have core values within this program,” he said. “We want our players to abide by those values.

“We want to make sure that the games that are taken away from them that they understand how important it is to represent this great university not only on the field but off the field. If a young man doesn’t want to be a part of this program, go break a core value and I’ll know exactly where you stand. It’s treat women with respect, no drugs, no stealing, no guns. Very simple.”

Lastly, on this front, Texas announced on Sunday that Kendall Thompson has given up football due to injuries. He will be placed on medical scholarship and remain in school at UT.

Strong didn’t think this suspension would be that big of a setback for Harrison, who was projected to start at left tackle.

“I don’t think it sets him back,” he said. “He just has to understand that within this program there are rules that you must abide by. I look at it like this; we have 85 guys on scholarship. We have 80 of them doing it the right way. Why can’t the rest of them do it the right way?

“Desmond is very athletic. He has a lot of potential. I don’t see this as a step back. Once he gets back from his suspension he will be fine.”

Look for Kent Perkins to move over to left tackle while Harrison is suspended. He’s back to full health after suffering a knee injury this spring.

The most interesting part about this, at least to me, is what happens when Harrison comes back. I think Perkins is going to make it really hard for the staff to move him from LT. He’s that good.

But I’m sure Wickline will reposition guys to get Harrison’s 6-foot-8, 318-pound frame on the field. He’s got to improve, vastly, from where he was a season ago. Especially if he has any hopes of playing on Sundays. Body image can only take you so far.

Strong didn’t name a starting offensive line but he did list names when asked who would be starting.

“We’ll see where Perk is,” he said. You have Kennedy [Estelle] at the other tackle, you have [Dominic] Espinosa in the middle, Sed Flowers, [Taylor] Doyle. I don’t know if I can say they will be the starters. I don’t know who is going to line up in that starting position.”

If I had to guess Texas’ starting line against North Texas will look as follows (from left to right): Perkins, Flowers, Espinosa, Rami Hammad, Estelle.

I think Hammad, like Perkins, is going to make it really hard on Wickline to keep him off the field.

Don’t be surprised if you see Jake Raulerson get some snaps away from his usual center position either. And keep an eye on Taylor Doyle at RG.

Texas is waiting on 2014 running back signee D’Onta Foreman to finish a summer class before he can join the program.

Foreman’s presence has grown more important over the past week with the news that Bergeron has been dismissed. He was one of three RBs UT signed in 2014. However, one of those – Kevin Shorter – won’t play football due to a spinal cord injury suffered in high school. He told HD earlier this week that he has been placed on medical scholarship.

Strong is excited to see Caleb Bluiett and Shiro Davis battle for the other starting defensive end position opposite of Cedric Reed.

“It’s going to be a good matchup for us,” he said. “Bluiett had a really good spring. Shiro did to. It will be a good matchup for us with those guys battling for the position.”

There haven’t been any decisions made in regards to position changes. The staff will know more once practice begins.

Speaking of practice, the veterans – non-freshmen – will practice in the morning and the freshmen will come back and practice in the evening. Strong doesn’t want to throw them into the deep end of the pool right away, metaphorically speaking.

Tryone Swoopes will begin camp as the No. 2 QB behind David Ash and ahead of freshman Jerrod Heard “because that’s where he was this spring.”

Strongisms

“There is a lot of pride in this program, and we are bringing the pride back.”

“I wish this vacation would end sooner. It’s time to go to work.”

“We aren’t in the business of kicking players out.”

“I had one of the [dismissed/suspended] players tell me that. He said ‘at some point I knew you were going to do something.’ I said ‘well if you knew that why did you keep doing it?’”

“Let’s not take a step back because we don’t have many practices before our first game.”

“I can’t do nothing about that. They are gone now. I have to focus on the guys that are here.”

“This senior class wants to go out here the right way. It’s our job as a coaching staff to make sure they leave here the right way. That they leave here with wins to where they can say ‘we took a slide but were able to get that foundation back.’”

“Great opportunity to see our strength staff put weight on, take weight off. To see some of the guys like Malcolm Brown redefined his body. Big Malcom was able to take off some weight off. We look like a complete football team.”

“This is the best job in the country. I want our players to understand that this is the best place in the country.”

“The only way you can ever win is you have to play great defense. If you don’t play great defense you have no chance to win. They understand the level and how well they have to play.”

“Major difference from spring to fall is now they know how we work and understand our tempo. What happened in spring was the unknown. Think I’ll see a major difference tomorrow.”

Strong pointed out two main concerns heading into fall camp: Developing leadership and developing depth.

He’s counting on the seniors on this team to step up in their leadership rolls because they are the ones that have been through this before.

Strong mentioned Bryson Echols, Adrian Colbert, and Dylan Haines as players that could step up in the secondary.

He mentioned that defensive backs and wide receivers were two positions that he felt freshmen could come in and immediately make an impact at.

“We signed five freshmen at wide receiver. A freshman can play a skilled position. We have a lot of guys in this program that haven’t done anything yet. It’s time for them to step up.”


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