Is Strong ready for Texas' demands?

It is certainly possible to bend the demands of the job to the coach's personality. Nick Saban remade Alabama football and dared anyone to challenge his decisions. By sheer force of personality -- and with a lot of winning -- Saban backed down any grumblers. But there aren't a whole lot of Nick Sabans out there.

Don't ask me to define the booster politics in which a coach must engage in a state with a constitutional amendment banning limits on ego. All I know is that the two coaches who won national championships at Texas, Darrell Royal and Mack Brown, possessed the backslapping, shoulder-rubbing personalities that kept a lot of rich, powerful people at bay. Royal and Brown didn't have to fake it. That's who they were.

That's not who Charlie Strong is. He has a quieter public persona. How he handles the public and private demands that he just agreed to take on will define his tenure in Austin. It is not as important as winning. If Brown's predecessor, John Mackovic, had won enough games, he might still be coaching the Longhorns. But when Mackovic faltered, his cool reticence had pushed aside support that might have helped him.

In four years, Strong has risen from a guy who thought his race had held him back to one of the most visible jobs in the game. He got there on merit. His new job expects merit and something more. How Strong handles the something more will call on skills that he hasn't shown in a long, distinguished coaching career. Here's hoping he has them.

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