Charlie Strong, Miami’s new co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, is in his first season at Miami and most recently served as the inside linebackers coach and assistant head coach for the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
Mario initially took flak about his staff hires being done slowly and methodically, but he opted for experience over expedience and hiring Strong brings a LOT of experience to the program.
"My approach is that it’s all about the players. What you want to do is build a relationship with them and just teach them about fundamentals, fundamentals of the game and fundamentals of life."— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) March 10, 2022
We've got a good one in @CoachStrong_. https://t.co/xLTgaRGdkN
Strong isn’t your typical candidate for a position coach at this stage in his career, checking in with a solid 74-53 record as a head coach. Strong spent three seasons as the head coach at South Florida (2017-19), three seasons as the head coach at Texas (2014-16) and four seasons as the head coach at Louisville (2010-13). He also had a brief stint as the interim head coach at Florida during its 27-10 loss to Miami in the 2004 Peach Bowl.
Strong has a plethora of experience as an assistant coach at Power 5 programs such as Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and Notre Dame. Strong’s career actually includes 38 years of college coaching experience and he’s been a part of three national championship teams (UF - 2006, UF - 2008, Alabama - 2020). He’s known as one of the nation’s top defensive coaches and recruiters, and has already landed pledges from a couple of highly rated Linebacker recruits for Miami.
Coach Mario Cristobal and coach Charlie Strong have compared new Miami linebacker commit Malik Bryant (@Malik5Bryant) to one of the NFL’s youngest and brightest stars. @AllHurricanes | #CanesFootball https://t.co/MBOVyUF19R— Rowdy Baribeau (@rowdybaribeau31) July 28, 2022
Charlie Strong pulled Raul Aguirre a 4⭐️ Linebacker away from a lot of top schools to commit to the Miami Hurricanes!! pic.twitter.com/GBNuN4lGbW— Russell Howard (@RadioDjRoadDogg) July 12, 2022
Mario is happy to have him on the staff, and said this when announcing the hiring of Strong ”I’m fired up to add Charlie Strong to our staff as co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Coach Strong is an elite football mind and has a tremendous reputation as a coach with championship experience. He also has exceptional acumen as a recruiter. Coach Strong will elevate not only our defense but our program as a whole, and I can’t wait to see the impact he makes on the culture and DNA of our team.”
“He’s invaluable,” Cristobal said last week. ”His ability to communicate, to relate, establish relationships. He’s just a great teacher and connector. ... And he holds guys to high standards. He’s done it as a head coach, as a coordinator.”
Strong had this to say about his stint at Alabama and coaching with Nick Saban: “Your role was to learn, reaffirm, listen, and offer advice. When you know this is what I have accepted and this is what I am going to do, then it’s a job,” he said. “And you go do your job. I don’t have an ego and it’s not like I walk and in and say, ‘I got to be in charge. I know my role and I’ve accepted that role... I’m someone he can lean on if he comes to me and I can help him.”
From my discussions with him, Strong is comfortable with his role and isn’t looking at this job as a stepping stone to return to a head coaching position, but I fully expect that programs will come knocking if he can recreate the success he’s had elsewhere as a DC.
What are your thoughts on Strong thus far? Let me know in the comments.