Tag Archives: Tom Herman Texas

Should Texas Be Commended For A Loss?

If you were one of the nearly five million viewers who watched USC beat Texas in double overtime a couple Saturday’s ago, you got yourself a real treat. I was one of the 84,000+ people in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum that evening and got every penny’s worth of the price of admission.

There was a lot of talk immediately following the game about the performance the Longhorns had against the fourth-ranked Trojans, and I didn’t see or hear much negativity about it. In fact, walking out of the Coliseum that night, I hadn’t been more proud to be wearing my burnt orange since Texas dominated Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl in 2015.

The reality, though, is the team still lost. I’ve harped over and over how this team simply doesn’t know how to win and the program will not be turned around until Tom Herman figures out how to turn them into winners. But this loss felt different at the time. It felt like progress.

For the first time in seemingly a decade, it looked like the players on the field cared more about the game than I did. That’s really all you can ask for as a fan.

But now, this program has a huge opportunity to build on the success they had against USC and learn from their mistakes. Will it happen this Thursday against Iowa State in Ames, or will Texas revert back to their old ways and play down to the level of their competition?

Speaking of that, on Tom Herman’s weekly radio show last week, he was asked about whether he was worried about his team playing down to their level of competition, and the possibility of complacency seeping into the locker room. His response was pure gold and refreshing to hear.

To summarize, he said he couldn’t understand why people were congratulating him after the USC game. Congratulations should never happen for a loss, because a loss is a loss, no matter what the effort looked like. He has no fear about his players playing down to their level of competition because Herman himself doesn’t even know what it means (of course, you know he does, but he’s just getting in the minds of the players and fans).

He also laughed at the notion of complacency in the locker room. How in the world can you be complacent after you lose? This team is 1-2 through three games, and the media is asking about complacency?

Herman continued by saying that notion was foreign to him. But honestly, he hasn’t followed this program in the last few years. Those questions were legitimate.

This team would get complacent at the most random times. If they beat OU, they would lose to Iowa State in the same year. If they beat Baylor, they would lose to Kansas. All because of complacency and playing down or up to the level of their competition.

Now, as good as Texas appeared to play against USC, there are still plenty of concerns, which have all been acknowledged by Herman. Let’s start with these:

  • Texas lost their All-American left tackle for possibly the season due to injury, leaving them with only five offensive linemen with quality experience.
  • Sam Ehlinger had four turnovers. More on this in a moment.
  • Chris Warren had four carries. I’m not getting into running game issues today, but here are my thoughts.
  • Against two Power-Five opponents, Texas has not scored a single offensive point in the first half of those games.
  • The offense has no identity, which will hurt them tremendously going forward if it doesn’t change.

As for true freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger, we saw this guy grow up a little more and get better from quarter to quarter against USC. But we have to pump the brakes on him a little bit. I’m going to make a comparison here that would probably get fans riled up, but just know that I’m not suggesting anything negative.

Remember when Garrett Gilbert was thrown into the national championship game against Alabama and was praised for an admirable performance in a loss? He had four turnovers that game, just like Ehlinger had against USC.

For the record, I’m not comparing Ehlinger to Gilbert at all. I make the point just to say we can’t anoint a freshman quarterback based on one performance. Could Ehlinger be the answer? It wouldn’t surprise me. Let’s just let this play out before calling him the savior of the program, like what happened to Gilbert. This program can’t afford yet another quarterback bust.

The bottom line is Texas has to go out and validate their performance against USC by completely dominating Iowa State on the road Thursday night. There were plenty of positives to take away from that game, but losing is losing and the team has to get better. Effort alone nearly beat the fourth-ranked team in the country, so cleaning up some issues and fixing some mistakes make this team’s ceiling very high.

This week is yet another challenge that Herman hasn’t faced with his team yet. He should seriously take the media questions and the fans reactions to heart. He may not think complacency is possible after a loss, but it has been with this team.

Fans are telling the players how well they played. National media are saying good things about the program. All of it can make complacency creep in. Take it to heart, Herman, because we will clearly see how good of a job you did the last couple weeks when your team takes the field on Thursday.

There may not be five million people tuning into this game, but you can bet the fans that do tune in will want to see nothing less than the fight, intensity, and effort put up against USC.

E-mail Chase at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @chaseholik88.

Tom Herman and Texas Are a Perfect Match

A new era of Texas football has begun as the Longhorns won the Tom Herman sweepstakes.

After yet another disappointing and embarrassing performance the day after Thanksgiving, Texas officials decided to officially part ways with head coach Charlie Strong. And there’s no doubt it was the right decision.

So why do I think Herman is a perfect match for Texas?

Herman’s hire came with hardly any backlash from the media, boosters, regents or anyone associated with the Texas program. This is a big difference from the Charlie Strong hire, where the fan base was divided and the comments made about Strong were mostly negative. As a result, he seemingly never had support from the beginning.

When you’re dealing with a program like Texas, having unified support from the administration to the fans goes a long way. Mack Brown had that unified support when he was hired in 1998. Charlie Strong did not have that support in 2013. Herman has it, so that’s a start.

Brown took over a program in disarray back in 1998. He was told by the great Darrell Royal that he had to get the BB’s back in the box. The BB’s signified the program as a whole, from the most loyal fans all the way to the influential regents who make decisions. When the BB’s were all in the box, the program succeeded. When the BB’s got out of the box, the program was in disarray.

Right now, the BB’s are out of the box. It’s Herman’s job to put them back in.

He has plenty of talent to work with because of Strong’s impressive recruiting classes the last two years. But the reality is he’s inheriting a team that has gone 6-7, 5-7 and 5-7 the last three years. I don’t care how much talent you have on paper, you are what your record says you are. So in that regard, Herman has his work cut out for him.

But one of the biggest reasons why Herman is the best fit right now is from a recruiting standpoint. He doesn’t have to create new relationships with Texas high school coaches. He’s always recruited the state well throughout his entire career and should only build on that with the Longhorns.

There’s absolutely no way Strong would have been able to put together a recruiting class this year similar to his last two. The program lost all momentum and his job status would have been a distraction. With only seven current commitments in the 2017 class, Herman and his staff have to hit the recruiting trail early and often, but selling the program shouldn’t be difficult.

And speaking of his staff, it’s critical that Herman hires the best possible staff right now. Strong’s biggest downfall was his inability to hire the right coaching staff when he arrived, and it led to inconsistencies all over the place. Herman doesn’t have to land the big name coordinators and coaches, he just has to land the RIGHT guys.

But of course, we can’t overlook the fact that this is Texas and with that comes unfair expectations most of the time. Herman already has intense pressure to succeed right away in Austin. He can’t use youth as an excuse. There’s no rebuilding. There’s no learning curve. He’s got to hit the ground running.

There will undoubtedly be some player transfers over the offseason, just like there are when any coaching change happens. But that also won’t be seen as an excuse with the depth the program has at nearly every position.

The good thing is Herman knows what he’s getting himself in to. He was a graduate assistant under Mack Brown in 1999. He understands what it takes to win at a program like Texas. And he’s learned from the very best, whether it’s Brown or Urban Meyer at Ohio State or anywhere in between.

Herman may check off all the boxes for what you’re looking for in a head coach, but it won’t matter if he doesn’t win early and often. Wins and losses are really all that matter at Texas.

Tom Herman is the right guy for the job at Texas right now. He has the ability to get the BB’s back in the box. He’s got the unified support. He has all the talent he needs to win immediately. He can’t ask for much more, and Texas fans can’t either.

With a rejuvenated fan base that’s counting down the remaining 278 days until opening kickoff, it can be hard to not get caught up in the energy. But for Herman, he knows he needs every one of those days to meet and exceed expectations.

And that’s why he’s the perfect fit.

E-mail Chase at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @chaseholik88.

Photo: Wikimedia