Oklahoma Pre-Game

Texas Football in Crisis?

I read in one of Kirk Bohls’ column this week that the Texas fan base is “seething” after the loss to TCU. Besides the TCU loss, he wrote that the fans are “furious” about Tom Herman’s 27-16 record at Texas and his endorsement of his players’ snub of “The Eyes of Texas.” I guess he has evidence to back up these claims but doesn’t cite any in his column. 

I can share that I heard from three diehard Texas fans after the TCU game that they were no longer emotionally invested in the program because of years of mediocrity. I can relate but I can’t claim that those three are a representative sample of the entire fan base.

If it is accurate that a significant segment fan base is angry or disinterested, I would say that after one loss the anger is premature.  Further I would suggest that those fans who are angry had outsized expectations—again—of how good the Longhorns were going to be this season.

This is team coming off a barely above average 8-5 2019 season. The program was in such a state that Herman replaced both coordinators and some key position coaches. As I mentioned in the first column of the year, replacing that many coaches is not an earmark of a program on the rise.

If history has taught us anything, it is that four- and five-star recruits don’t directly correlate with elite college football players and that two or three consecutive top 10 recruiting classes don’t directly correlate with a top 10 team. 

Three games into his fourth season as coach, Tom Herman is doing no better than Mack Brown during his last four years at Texas and Charlie Strong’s brief three-year tenure at developing elite talent into championship teams. Three different coaches with different styles and personalities failing in a similar fashion. It makes you wonder, what gives?

It was reported and opined that in his last three or four years at Texas, Mack Brown took the “CEO” head coaching style too far and was delegating too much of his duties to coordinators and staff.  I heard second hand from a former player who was close to the program that Brown was playing golf with big-money-donors on Fridays before home games. That’s what I call delegation.

I don’t think it’s controversial to suggest that Charlie Strong at Texas was in over his head. The “Peter Principle” on display.

Hiring Tom Herman theoretically addressed the failings of his predecessors. He was a hands-on, fanatically detail oriented coach/executive.  And . . .  he was in Mensa!  I like to call him “Mensa Boy.” At 27-16, it’s too early to judge that Herman is not the answer for Texas, but it’s trending in that direction.

Even though Oklahoma is unranked coming off two consecutive losses and start a redshirt-freshman at quarterback, while Texas has Ehlinger, the Horns are a 2-point underdog. This suggests that the reputation of annually being overrated has caught to Texas.

While actual, real-life turning points are rare, this year’s Oklahoma game could be one for Tom Herman and the Texas program.  A game plan featuring sideways passes like last year’s and missed tackles in the double digits won’t get it done even against what looks to be Oklahoma’s worst team in more than 20 years. You don’t have to be in Mensa to figure that out.


I attended the Texas-TCU game. It was little bit like going to a preseason scrimmage back in the 70s. Besides the friend I went with, no one was sitting within six feet of me. The fans behind me were two rows back and were the closest to me. There was no one within 20 feet of me to my right or left beyond my friend. Annoyingly, the jumbotron volume was literally ear-splitting. I suppose the people in charge are trying to compensate for the absence of about 85,000 fans. Bad plan, in my opinion.

The most lasting impression I took from of going to a Texas game in this most unusual year was what happened immediately after the game ended. We all knew that a large majority of the Texas players would not sing or acknowledge “The Eyes of Texas.” What had slipped my mind regarding the Longhorn post-game tradition was the players’ acknowledgement of the fans during the playing and singing of “The Eyes.” I don’t know what happened after the UTEP or Texas Tech game but it was a sad coda to the TCU loss that all but five or six players hastily left the field without acknowledging the fans after the game.

The detail-oriented Herman and Chris Del Conte should have anticipated this scene and come up with a plan, one way or another, for the players to acknowledge the fans after games.

A little levity
Scipio Tex’s used this diagram in his TCU Post-mortem to illustrate Texas’ defense on Max Duggan’s fourth quarter touchdown run.



Hook ‘Em,

8 Comments to “Oklahoma Pre-Game”

  1. Mike Frank nails it! There’s an arrogant strain of Mackovic in Herman that annoys the crap outta me. And I’m now one of the ambivalent longhorn fans, numbed by years of mediocrity. But it’s not so bad not being emotionally invested. I always said Jerry Jones gave me my Sundays back after he ruined the Cowboys experience and I now no longer watch the pokes. Now, with Herman and the SJW Longhorns crapping the bed, my Saturdays no longer revolve around Longhorn football. I watch the games, but don’t expect much. It’s sad. But… hey… Beat the Hell outta OU!

    • The Longhorns losing Homer Mark is like LBJ losing Cronkite.

      • I’ll chalk it up to the year 2020. Homer Mark will be back!

  2. The biggest difference is the fans’ feelings about the 3 coaches:
    Brown: incredibly likeable with skins on the wall
    Strong: we all wanted him to succeed even if we were skeptical
    Herman: an arrogant prick who seems to think he’s better than he is

    Strong came in with hope, but Herman came in with expectations.

    • Thanks for checking in. Strong and Herman had eerily similar resumes coming in. Brown was likable until he started losing 4-5 games a year then he got prickly.

  3. Know you’re not a subscriber to the Rivals’ Orangebloods site, but more than 10,000 others, including me, are. I look at it regularly during football season and I can assure you that fans seething is an understatement. Those who aren’t seething, again like me, are voicing (posting) the same kind of ambivalence I have. While I call it ambivalent, 27-16 at this point is not too soon to opine, think, or believe that the Herman regime will eventually end in the same manner as did Brown’s and Strong’s. Certainly not this December, but without a significant upward trend, probably in December 2021. I’m sick to my boots about the whole damn mess.

    • Dabo Swinney was 25-16 in first full three seasons at Clemson.

      • Not our standard. 😏 And, something about the Clemson dramatic success smells a lot like Baylor to me. oh, and I don’t see the Horns poised for a big upside this week, this season, and certainly not next year. I don’t have a solution, just telling it like it pretty clearly is.

What Say You?