Texas Coach Herman Cements His Status as Top Pretender in College Football
Pretender Alert !!!
The official Week 1 is in the books for college football and, already, Texas fans will call for Tom Herman’s head. If there is one thing Longhorn fans will not tolerate is losing opening day to an inferior opponent. Herman, in his two years in Austin, has done it twice now, losing to the same team, Maryland, both years. For the record, the Terrapins, were 3-8 last season.
Normally, you could look past an opening day loss. First game jitters, inexperience, learning a new system. But, not in this case. It isn’t that the Longhorns lost the game, it is how they lost the game that is going to sour Texas fans in a hurry.
For starters, the week before the game Texas got smashed with a monster distraction. Herman, who used to be as assistant at Ohio State, was linked to the Zach Smith scandal when it was disclosed that Smith and Herman had taken some high school coaches to a strip club. Now, nobody really cares about that because college coaches have taken high school coaches to strip clubs for decades. Do you think anyone would care if this was Nick Saban being outed for being at a dance club like that? Of course not. But, at Texas, they are looking for ways to get rid of their coaches. They sent one of the best, Charlie Strong, packing before he even got a chance to build a program. So, this kind of distraction was the last thing Herman and the Longhorns needed.
Early in the game, Texas looked unorganized and undisciplined. Missed assignments, confusion on substitutions, out of position on defense, and too many penalties put the Longhorns behind the 8-ball early.
You would think that, after a week of turmoil, Texas would come out inspired and excited to finally get to play a game. Nada. The Longhorns looked flat, like they didn’t want to be there. Maryland jumped all over them for a 24-7 lead midway into the second quarter. Yes, Texas rallied to get themselves back into the game, but — to me — that was by-product of Maryland getting conservative versus the Longhorns stepping it up a notch.
When asked why his players played so uptight, Herman answered “if I knew that I would tell you.” Not the most positive, confidence building answers a coach could give in that situation.
Finally, after all of that, Texas still had a chance to win the game at the end. But, as fate would have it, another Longhorn mistake, this time an interception, sealed their fate. Great teams and great coaches simply don’t lose games like this. They just don’t.
How undisciplined was Texas with the game on the line? Down 34-29, Texas turned the ball over on their last three possessions. This from a squad that was favored by 14 points over a team who was reeling from the loss of their head coach and the heartbreaking death of one of their teammates.
Now, just like in the Charlie Strong era, Longhorn fans are left scratching their heads. Strong started 6-8, and that was after cleaning house, sending several players who didn’t fit his character profile packing. Herman, who had an elite recruiting season, is 7-7 in his first 14 games in Austin.
Texas has three straight games at home, against Tulsa, USC, and TCU. Suffice it to say that if they don’t play more inspired football in a hurry, its going to be another long season for Texas fans to endure.