Charlie Strong is the anti-Mack Brown, and Bevo Country Club has been replaced by the Strong Yard, where he is the dictator, warden, top cop, president and supreme ruler.By kicking out five players and suspending two others in a 48-hour period in the past week, the Texas coach has at least sent a message that certain behavior will not be tolerated.Discipline is wonderful, provided it does not conflict with winning football games. There are priorities that make sense to us pragmatically, then there are the priorities that matter to us emotionally.Fans love to see their coaches act like tough guys by throwing kids off the team, and preaching old-school values by using catch phrases such as “Accountability” and “No Excuses” or “Not on My Watch.” Strong has done that effectively, which should provide him with a slightly bigger grace period and time to lose a few games.The roster he inherited is not reflective of some of Coach February’s finest work — it looks like Mack was trying to quit. Charlie took a flamethrower to the rest.Now that Strong has sufficiently scared the hell out of his team, it is necessary he also be the anti-Mack in another department: finding a quarterback.That the quarterback position remains such a problem for a program such as Texas has gone from unfortunate to mystifying to laughable to sad. This should not happen there.Unless Strong is able to Alabama-up his team — create dominant lines and run games — all of this tough-guy, football coach stuff will die without a real QB.Had the career of Garrett Gilbert progressed the way it was projected, this would not be a conversation, and very likely Bevo CC is still open with CEO Mack running the pool party.Whatever the reason — coaching, poor recruiting, injuries — Strong must reverse this program’s remarkable run of average passers that began the moment Colt McCoy left.The good news is that junior David Ash was recently cleared after foot surgery in April and can play.The bad news is that junior David Ash was recently cleared after foot surgery in April and can play.Despite the physical appearance that screams all-conference quarterback, Ash has played like a backup. And, according to his head coach, he is the best thing UT has to offer.I asked Texas running back Malcolm Brown if he is comfortable with the quarterback position.“I don’t even know. I really just let that be. I don’t have too many thoughts about that,” he said. “I’ll know when the season comes we’ll have somebody to go.”Without trying to say anything, Brown said so much.Sophomore Tyrone Swoopes has some similar physical characteristics as VY but, in limited play last season and during the spring game, he looked lost. Strong said Swoopes will compete this season along with true freshman Jerrod Heard of Denton Guyer.At least in his first season, Strong’s best chance is for Ash to remain healthy and to play as well as he looks.No one should be expecting much from UT this season other than eight wins and a middle-tier bowl game.Strong had little to work with before this purge, and now he has less.Maybe all of this tough-guy, Strong stuff will inspire his team to a few surprising wins. He can discipline his team all he wants, but what the man needs now is a quarterback.Unlucky No. 13It was not quite The Giving Tree, but Fort Worth and specifically Colonial lost a good friend this week when the massive tree at the 13th hole on the venerable course had to be chopped down.The recent storm that ripped through Fort Worth did so much damage to the big tree that the club did not feel there was any way to keep it around.Between the absence of the caddie races and now the tree that provided so many fans with such wonderful shade at the par-3 hole, we will barely recognize it next spring.Alas, the party will survive. Instead of the old tree, expect to find places to buy food and beer.On guardThe addition of point guard Jameer Nelson continues to make it difficult to knock the Mavericks’ off-season. They have upgraded their roster at every single position, with the exception of sixth man. The addition of Richard Jefferson is not an upgrade over Vince Carter.Nelson gives the Mavs a pass-first, proven guard who is a vastly different look than Devin Harris. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle can start either of these guys and should feel comfortable that they know how to get into an offense.The fear with Nelson is the same as with Harris — health. Nelson has not played in more than 68 games in each of the past three seasons and has routinely battled injuries since 2008.As wonderful as these additions are, they won’t do much if they are not on the court.PredictionTCU will finish with a winning record in football and better than the seventh-place finish in the Big 12 projected by the media in the preseason voting. Follow Mac Engel on The Big Mac Blog on star-telegram.com/sports/.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @macengelprof