AUSTIN, Texas -- With reports swirling that Texas power brokers may be moving to oust him after this season, Longhorns coach Charlie Strong says he's heard the rumblings and is engaged -- as always -- with the principal boosters.
"I know the guys to keep in touch with, and I do," Strong told ESPN.com on Monday. "They've been great and always want to know if there's anything they can do to help. Now, I don't go to dinner with those guys, so I'm not going to be seen in public with them. I'm not a member of their country club and I don't play golf, so I don't go play golf with them. But I pick up the phone and call them, keep in touch."
All the while, just down the road, Houston's Tom Herman is the name many are floating as a potential replacement for Strong.
"They want the same thing I do, to see this program continue to make strides," Strong said of the Texas boosters. "We need to finish strong, where we're on an upswing. We don't want to be going backward, and we're not."
Strong said he feels the fans' frustrations, but he remains confident that he'll return the program back to national relevance.
"I thought it would be faster. I thought I would turn it faster, and boom, then we'd take off," Strong said. "But what happened is once you get into it, you start realizing you don't have a quarterback, you don't have this, you don't have that. So it comes back to you have to go recruit.
"As badly as we're getting beat up out there by some people, and despite some of the things that are being said, we're still getting great players. We just have to learn to win some of these close games we're losing and be more consistent. It's coming, and everybody in our locker room will tell you the same thing."
Strong said he's received nothing but support from his bosses at the university as well as those key power brokers. Both Texas president Greg Fenves and athletic director Mike Perrin came out in support of Strong last week.
"What I look at is that we have a team that's making strides and not going backward," Strong said. "Now, we haven't won like we want to, but I look at where we're heading and know we'll get there because I believe in the kids so much that I know it's going to happen."
The Longhorns have fixed their offensive problems from the first two seasons and are averaging 41 points per game, but they've also given up 45 or more points in all three of their losses this season. Strong took over the defensive playcalling duties last week against Oklahoma, but the Longhorns still gave up 675 yards and 45 points.
"The problem on defense is the deep ball, and we can get that fixed," Strong said. "If we have to, we won't go with any more bump-and-runs, back our corners off and make people throw the ball in front of us. Right now, what's killing us are the chunk plays. It's killing us because teams aren't driving the ball. It's a home run."
Strong was asked Saturday after the Oklahoma loss if it was desperation time for the program. He told ESPN.com Monday the only way he would feel desperate is if the Longhorns lacked talent and weren't recruiting well. He likened Texas' situation now with where Butch Jones and the No. 9 Tennessee Volunteers were last season.
"We're in pretty much the same position -- he's a year ahead of me," Strong said. "And look at where they are right now."