Dissapointing

Less than a week after Tom Herman assured everyone that Sam Ehlinger wouldn’t do “that” again (“that” being an excruciatingly, situationally stupid interception), he did it again.  The soul-crushing interception Ehlinger threw with 2:06 to play was a high school mistake that makes you wonder when he is going to realize he’s not at Westlake anymore. Though, I suppose it’s fitting that the quarterback of a high school offense—and I’m being generous here—is making high school mistakes.  Ehlinger could have been saved from the infamy of throwing the game away by a coaching staff smart enough not to call a pass play when you’re leading by three, with 2:06 to play, on third and two, from your opponent’s 37-yard line, when your opponent has no timeouts. Run any kind of running play and assuming you don’t fumble or run out of bounds, the worst thing that can happen is you punt on fourth down and leave Texas Tech with at best a first and ten on their 20 with a minute left to play and no timeouts. Shouldn’t it be a baseline expectation that this coaching staff understands situational football?

The interception wasn’t the only reason Texas lost to Texas Tech, a team coming into the game with Big 12 conference wins against only Baylor and Kansas. Texas ran eight plays inside Texas Tech’s three-yard-line for a net minus one yard. Let that sink in.

It’s like our worst fears realized. Offensive-minded and most cherished hire Tom Herman produces a 6-6 record in his first season with an offense that finished #57 nationally in total offense. Herman came to Austin with swagger and bravado and made sure the UT public relations machine informed the fan base that the Moncrief-Neuhaus training facility was immaculately painted and outfitted with $8,700 lockers under his leadership. He exits the regular season visibly shaken in his Texas Tech post-game press conference.

In his Monday press conference after the Iowa State game, Herman was asked if he was happy with his offensive coaching staff. His first reaction was to feign not understanding the question—and then feigning further puzzlement, he said, “Interesting question.”  Yes, it is, but don’t expect Herman to make any major changes to his offensive staff. On more than one occasion over the course of the season, he has stressed the importance of staff continuity for player development and pointed out the lack of it before his arrival.  If Herman doesn’t shake up his offensive staff, we’ll find out how effective continuity is for continuity’s sake.

A cautionary tale for Herman is Charlie Strong sticking with offensive coordinator Shawn Watson after the 2014 season, even though the offense had finished #113 out of 128 nationally.  That included a school-record low of 59 yards total offense against Arkansas in the Texas Bowl. Strong demoted Watson after the first game of the 2015 season against Notre Dame, when Texas scored only three points with 160 yards of total offense.

Tom Herman needs to understand that although he’s led the program for only one year, the patience of the Longhorn fan base for bad offense and six win seasons is exhausted. After the Texas Tech game, Herman’s grace period is over.

Parting Shot

How much involvement does Herman have with the defense?

Hook ‘Em,

W.E.

7 Comments to “Dissapointing”

  1. Good analysis, Bill and the jest of it can be summarized and reflected for the entire season. Here is my take.

    The “Hurry Up / Spread” offense is no longer new or innovative. Defenses know how to defend against it and it is especially a bad choice on the goal-line because of the loss of depth of field. Our offense is completely predictable. Our offense never took a snap from under center all season (except to intentionally down the ball). We have no goal-line offensive scheme, not even 1 fullback listed on the roster, we never even have 2 backs in the backfield ever, the ball carrier(if there is 1 in the backfield)and quarterback are always 6-8 yards back from the line of scrimmage, even if we only need 1 yard etc. I’m pretty sure we could all go on and on, so let’s cut to the chase and fire “Herr” Herman and Beck now.
    Dan

    • Hey Dan,

      Good to hear from someone with actual college football experience. The spread is horrible on the goal line as you point out. If I remember the Auburn-Alabama game correctly, Even Auburn who runs a version of the spread had their quarterback taking snaps directly under center on short yardage situations.

      Having had conversations with you in the past about fan criticism of coaches, I’m thinking your tongue is firmly in cheek when you suggest firing Herman and Beck now. Right?

      Bill

  2. Disappointing? Disappointing? What we’re watching is well beyond disappointing. It’s disgraceful and Herman makes it shamelessly so with his arrogance. Ehlinger as a quarterback might make a decent linebacker, maybe strong safety. I personally am unable to fathom the arrogance and stubbornness that kept Armanti Foreman on the bench for much of the season, just one of many comically stupid decisions, along with not playing Gary Johnson virtually at all during the first four-five games, continuing to give Warren and Porter handoffs, having Hemphill-Mapps fair catch every punt, not kicking field goals early in the loss to USC, and, oh, so many more. It appears that many of the defensive playmakers are leaving, making next year’s outlook decidedly cloudy. What a freaking mess. In the words of the late Jake Pickle, I’m sick to my boots.

  3. I have gone from “What me worry?” to “Holy Crap I’m worried!” I want to give the Coach the benefit of the doubt but I turned to my wife when he threw the next to last interception and said “What the heck are they doing throwing the ball!” High school offense because of boneheaded high school play calling. That DB was standing right there. He wasn’t hidden like a “Spy vs Spy” episode (only you old farts will remember that). What is it they say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome? And they say I am goofy. I have competition.

    Alfred E. Neuman

  4. Excellent analysis, as usual Willie Earl. I think “disappointing” is at the upper end of my feeling about this season, with “disinterested” breathing down its neck. Let’s go bowling at 6-6? Meh…..

  5. An apropo blast, Shotgun Willie. That game did not give the faithful too much to hope for in 2018, and unfortunate to see Connor Williams hit the exits for the pros though he wasn’t exactly perfect either in his last game as a Longhorn. I just try to remember it is after all big time college football business lest we get too worked up about it, which is why we can hold the highly paid CEO to close account as the “investor community.” It is about producing results with the available resources, which are unmatched in the country even when considering the other great entitled programs in Tuscaloosa, LA, and South Bend, and, ahem, Norman, a desolate place off I-35 that just wants to keep you heading north, perhaps all the way to effin’ freezing Canada. Looking forward to that bowl game and more W.E., podnah.

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