Texas prepares for final game amid uncertainty about Strong’s future

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Longhorns will play their final regular season game on Friday afternoon against TCU at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, but the focus all week is whether or nor this be Charlie Strong’s final game as Texas’ head coach.

There have been reports that UT has already decided to fire Strong. But as reports were swirling Sunday about Strong’s firing, Athletic Director Mike Perrin released a statement addressing the rumors.

“We will evaluate the body of work after the regular season,” Perrin’s statement said. “We’ll discuss where things stand after that.”son.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Strong’s job status, he’s not worried about his team’s ability to focus on TCU.

“I don’t think it’s going to be tough at all, because of the group that I have,” Strong said. “When you have character and you have class within your program, which is what we have recruited over the last few years, they understand. The thing about it is, they read it all and I try to tell them, ‘Don’t read it all, guys, whatever I tell you, just listen to me and I’m going to shoot you straight and I’m going to give you all the information, I’m going to be up front and very forward with you.’ But I don’t think it’s going to be hard.”

Senior defensive tackle Paul Boyette thinks Strong will serve as more of a rallying point for his team than a distraction.

“It’s going to be passionate,” Boyette said. “It’s going to be a competitive spirit, that’s really what it’s going to have to be. There’s no reason to hold anything back. We ain’t got nothing to lose and we got everything to gain.”

Adding to the emotion of the night is the fact that it will be senior day for Texas’ 18 seniors.

“I think how things are going on, it’s going to be an emotional game for everybody,” said sophomore offensive tackle Connor Williams.  “We just need to come out and we need to play, we need to have fun, we need to play our game.”

Under Strong, Texas has been blown out the last two years by the Horned Frogs by a combined score of 98-17, including a 50-7 loss in Fort Worth last season where Texas trailed 30-0 after the first quarter.

“I go back to last year, and we didn’t play well and we have not played well against TCU the last two years. Plus I go back to this is Senior Day and we need to get our players ready to go play and we owe that to our seniors because they are just so important. They haven’t been to a bowl game, we didn’t go last year, so our guys know what’s riding on this game. It does not scare me one bit that we’re not going to show up and go play on Friday. That’s going to happen.”

Despite the prevailing thought that Texas will fire Strong regardless of the outcome, there is always that chance that he could save his job with a sixth win that would also get Texas into a bowl game.

“I just know this: We just need to go win it. The reason why I say that is I want to get these guys to a bowl game.”

On the field, one of the focuses will be running D’Onta Foreman. In just 10 games, he’s already has the third best single-season rushing total in Texas history, with 1,863 yards. He needs just 31 yards for the secodn best season ahead of Ricky Williams’ junior year. He’s 262 yards shy of the Heisman Trophy winner’s school record of 2,124 yards.

TCU is 5-5 and also in serach of bowl eligiblity, but they have a game against Kansas State next week to earn a sixth win if they lose to Texas. The Horned Frogs are coming off a 31-6 loss to Oklahoma State last week, equaling their worst home loss since 1997.

The game kicks off at 2:30 p.m. Friday.

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