Charlie Strong trumpets 'core values'

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas coach Charlie Strong confirmed Sunday that he has dismissed five players and suspended three more indefinitely.

Strong announced the dismissal of running backs Joe Bergeron and Jalen Overstreet and defensive back Chevoski Collins in his first public comments since July reports that the trio had been kicked off the team. All three players have been granted a release to transfer.

Strong also said said running back/receiver Daje Johnson, offensive tackle Desmond Harrison and safety Josh Turner will be suspended for at least the first game of the season. All three players will practice with the team when the Longhorns begin fall camp Monday, and Strong has not decided how many games they will miss. Each was suspended for the same undisclosed violation.

"We have core values within this program. We expect our players to abide by those values," Strong said. "You take away something that's important to them -- and football is really important to a lot of these players -- and you make sure that with the games taken away from them, they understand how important it is to represent this great university not only on the field but off.

"With the core values, I say it all the time -- if a young man doesn't want to be part of this program, just go break a core value of this program. You'll be telling me a lot about where you want to stand."

Harrison, Johnson and Turner were all likely to start for Texas this season. Johnson is one of the Longhorns' top playmakers, a junior who has accounted for 1,330 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns in his career.

Harrison, a senior, was the starting left tackle in spring practices and Turner, also a senior, has started five games and played in 32 more.

Strong also confirmed receivers Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander, arrested last month on sexual assault charges, have been removed from the program and can't rejoin the team.

Strong has now officially dismissed seven players from his program since taking over in January. Backups Chet Moss and Leroy Scott were kicked off the team in March. Strong called Bergeron, Overstreet and Collins "repeat offenders" who broke team rules "constantly, over and over and over."

"We have 85 guys on scholarship," Strong said. "If you look at it and 80 of them are doing it the right way, why can't the rest of them?"

Strong laid out his five core values -- honesty, treating women with respect and no drugs, stealing or guns -- in his first meeting with his new players in January and said he had no intention of running players off the team.

"We're not in the business of kicking young men out," he said. "The streets have a lot of people out there not doing anything with their lives. When you have a young man with potential and has everything given to them, then there's no reason for them to not be successful. We want to make sure that happens in this program."

Texas will be missing one more veteran player when it opens camp Monday. Senior linebacker Kendall Thompson, who dealt with concussions throughout his career, is taking a medical scholarship and has ended his playing career.