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Charlie Strong: Texas turning corner

AUSTIN, Texas -- Riding a three-game win streak that has saved Texas' season, coach Charlie Strong says there's no turning back now.

Two days after the Longhorns beat Oklahoma State 28-7 to improve to 6-5 and clinch bowl eligibility, Strong said Monday the turning point is coming for his program and that another five-loss season "will never happen in this program again."

"I told the coaching staff it's on us," Strong said. "We were sitting here at 3-5 and I said we should not be pleased with where we are. At the University of Texas, that will never happen that, with our [track] record, we go out and get five losses. We're not comfortable with that."

Texas has notched double-digit victories over Texas Tech, West Virginia and OSU since that 3-5 start to ensure Strong's first year with the program will end with a bowl game. Strong praised the play of Texas' senior class as the biggest reason for the late-season push and said he didn't doubt the turnaround was coming.

The Longhorns managed to overcome the dismissal of nine players plus the losses of starting quarterback David Ash to a career-ending concussion and senior leaders Dominic Espinosa and Desmond Jackson to season-ending injuries in nonconference play. Even at 2-4, Strong was confident he had a better team than the record suggested.

"I never thought I had more than I could chew," he said. "When you're dealing with young people, it doesn't matter how big the program is. When you're dealing with young people and you get them to trust you and they believe in what the mission is, it's all about that."

As for the possibility Texas could face rival Texas A&M in the AdvoCare Texas Bowl or AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Strong said he's focused only on Texas' next opponent.

"Whoever we play in a bowl game, we'll be happy," Strong said. "It's just all about TCU right now."

Texas is on a bye this week and finishes its regular season at home on Thanksgiving night against the No. 4 Horned Frogs.

"It's great to see this team continue to get better," Strong said. "We know this: We've got a big one coming up here on Thanksgiving Day and we're going to [have to] play really well to beat that team because it's an outstanding football team."