College Confidential

Texas coach Strong to call team’s defensive signals against OU

For a second consecutive season, Texas football coach Charlie Strong is preparing to make a midseason change of play-callers.

Strong acknowledged during today’s Big 12 coaches conference call that he will address published reports about his plans to strip defensive coordinator Vance Bedford of play-calling duties at an 11 a.m. news conference in Austin.

“I’ve got my press conference (in Austin) and plan to deal with that there,” Strong said on the coaches call. Strong did not deny plans to make the change in his response.

He was responding to a question about a report in the Austin American-Statesman in which a source familiar with the situation confirmed that Strong, a long-time defensive coordinator, plans to take over play-calling duties for the rest of this season, starting with Saturday’s game in Dallas against No. 20 Oklahoma. The item was posted this morning on the newspaper’s website.

Strong pondered the move last week, after watching his defense struggle in a 50-43 loss to California on Sept. 17, but decided a shift in duties three weeks into the season “would hurt us.” That sentiment apparently has changed now that the Longhorns surrendered 555 yards in Saturday’s 49-31 loss at Oklahoma State.

Texas (2-2, 0-1 in Big 12) meets No. 20 Oklahoma (2-2, 1-0) in Saturday’s matchup that will be pivotal in the Big 12 race.

Strong, who has a 13-16 in record in his third season in Austin, changed offensive play-callers after a 38-3 loss to Notre Dame in last year’s season opener. That team finished 5-7.

Asked about the confidence level of his defense during the conference call, Strong said: “You can’t be afraid to make a mistake and that happens some times with our defense.”

Jimmy Burch: 817-390-7760, @Jimmy_Burch