The Reports of Herman’s Demise are Greatly Exaggerated

Sports talk show host Colin Cowherd has a mantra about passionate sports fans wanting to be right more than they want to get it right. If I had a mantra about passionate sports fans, it would be in a similar vein to Cowherd’s: they want to be the first to predict more than they want to accurately predict. 

Since Texas’ loss to Oklahoma I have observed passionate Texas fans being guilty of both above foibles when predicting or flat out stating as a fact that Tom Herman will be fired after this season if not before. They want Herman to be fired and if they say it emphatically enough times, they think they can make it come true.

In the cold hard light of the win over Baylor and the stirring come-from-behind win over Oklahoma State, the prognosis for Herman keeping his job in 2021 looks pretty good. And, I don’t think Texas has to win its remaining four games for Herman to be retained.  If Texas wins three out of four and finishes 7-3 for the regular season Herman will remain, in my opinion. That would give him a 34-18 record. Not great but I think it would be a bad look to fire a coach who just went 7-3 and has won 65% of his games over four years. If Herman doesn’t win the Big 12 in 2021 or doesn’t have a Mack Brown like 10-2 regular season record without a championship, then he’ll be fired and his buyout will be more reasonable than it would be at the end of this season.

Texas’ Keys to Victory over West Virginia

  1. Texas has averaged 92.7 yards in penalties over the last three games. They had 142 yards in penalties against Oklahoma State. Texas can’t continue to be penalized at this rate and expect to win its remaining four games or even three out of four.
  2. Texas overcame penalties and an average offensive output to beat Oklahoma State because they forced four turnovers. They need to win the turnover battle over a West Virginia team that is fourth nationally in total defense and 19th in scoring defense.
  3. It was clear during the Oklahoma St. game from his play and his facial expressions that Sam Ehlinger was in pain. Between Texas’ porous offensive line and Herman’s penchant for using quarterbacks heavily in the running game, Ehlinger is beat up. Texas needs to protect Ehlinger the passer much better and Herman needs to rely more on his running backs and less on Ehlinger to run the ball.
  4. West Virginia average 32 minutes in time for possession. Texas can’t fall behind by double digits in this game and expect to win.

Final Observations on the West Virginia Game

Texas gave up 400 passing yards and 530 yards total to Oklahoma State. Texas overcame those ugly statistics with a heroic performance from Joseph Ossai and strong performance from Ta’quon Graham. It’s reasonable to expect those two to play well against West Virginia but not to win the game again this week.  I’ll go out on a limb and predict that if West Virginia total more than 500 yards of total offense they’ll win.
Texas was held to 287 yards and 3.8 yards per play and Ehlinger was sacked five times against Oklahoma State. I’ll go out on another limb and say if Texas gains less than 350 yards total offense this week they’ll lose.

Texas got a touchdown on D’Shawn Jamison’s 100-yard kickoff return. Without consulting the Google machine, I believe that’s two kickoff return touchdowns and one punt return touchdown for his career at Texas. So, a Jamison long return or return touchdown isn’t a fluke but it’s unlikely to happen two games in a row.

This is a Big 12 elimination game. The loser will be out of title contention. Will Texas come down off the high of the Oklahoma State victory and play a more consistent game offensively and defensively against West Virginia or play poorly for the third time this year in a game that starts at 11am?

HooK ‘Em.


1 Comment to “The Reports of Herman’s Demise are Greatly Exaggerated”

  1. On the plus side, Herman’s teams don’t quit.
    On the negative side is everything else.

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