Figuratively speaking, Mack Brown doesn't live here anymore.
But Charlie Strong does. And maybe the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry will live again as well.
The distinct impression Strong left in his first informal sitdown with the local press is that he's his own man and won't back down from anyone. Even unnamed anyones like, say, a certain school 100 miles away.
Those are good qualities if you're a football coach living in the Lone Star State. Swagger may finally be coming back to Austin.
The new Texas coach lay down the gauntlet on Wednesday without calling out any program in particular, so settle down, Aggies. I think he meant the Oklahoma Sooners and the Baylor Bears and the LSU Tigers and anyone who ventures past these borders. I think he meant all comers, Aggies included.
Charlie Strong is not going to coach scared. What set off all the buzz Wednesday was a few relatively harmless comments by the Longhorns coach who looks, acts and talks as if he's not going to take any guff off anyone.
He still runs either five or six miles five days a week by himself and gets on the elliptical machine on Saturdays. On Sundays, I'm guessing he and new recruit Poona Ford benchpress Audis.
Here's how the clamor began: When asked if he would focus his recruiting on in-state players or search out of state, Strong brought it.
"We have to control this state," Strong said. "I don't know if it's 80 percent or 90 percent ... we may go out of state for a specific need, but you can't make a living in those other states. It's like we tell players in state, 'Why leave here and go elsewhere?'" And he's right. If he is to return Texas to the elite level of most of the first 12 years of Brown's tenure, Strong has to control the state. There's no two ways about it. He lost two high-profile players to the Aggies linebacker Otaro Alaka and defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson and did not return the favor. He lost another defensive tackle, Courtney Garrett, to OU.
What really inflamed Aggies sensibilities were remarks he made in answer to a question about the A&M coach.
Strong was specifically asked about matching up with Kevin Sumlin, who just turned in a top five class, and trying to compete for blue-chippers.
"I always say this, that this university speaks for itself," Strong said. "We are the University of Texas. We are not going to be a gadget program. We're going to go recruit players that fit this program." I didn't think he was labeling the Aggies "a gadget program" and don't know why he would. If he does feel that way, Strong and about 100 other coaches should go out and recruit a gadget player like Johnny Manziel because A&M wouldn't have won its last two bowl games and become so nationally relevant without him.
Now maybe he meant some of the Sumlinian frills, or maybe wasn't even referring to A&M. Strong's been very clear he's all about substance, about toughness, about physical football.
Apparently we've gone from Coach February to Professor Gadget. Or we should start calling Sumlin "Coach Gadget" for all his swag copters and yessir hashtags and big-market billboards. There's certainly nothing wrong with a little 21st century marketing and pumping up one's fan base. That sells a lot of season tickets and luxury boxes. It sure wouldn't hurt Texas to recognize this and send out a Charlie Strong Instagram now and again.
But we all know Strong won't land a top five national class in 2015 with a cocky tweet. A winning season and a major bowl will do just fine. There's nothing wrong with upping one's game, but I don't look for Strong to start using a swag drone to recruit any time soon.
And when I asked Strong if he'd like to play A&M, he deferred to his president and AD, but did add cryptically, "I don't really care who we play." He sounds like a coach who wouldn't mind deciding rivalry superiority on the field. Nick Saban couldn't have said it any better.
When a high-ranking school official told me Texas had hired "the anti-Mack," he was right. Strong isn't a guy to be trifled with. He filled out his white Longhorns sweater vest on Wednesday with biceps that make it appear he pumps a few dumbbells before his first bowl of Wheaties.
Strong was all business when he announced his 23 signees in a very abbreviated press conference. If it were Mack, he'd still be talking.
Unlike the Mack Era, there was no film of the quarterback completing bombs downfield, no footage of a defensive end terrorizing a tackle.