AUSTIN (KXAN) — From the outside, the Texas Longhorns have endured a long two weeks since the quadruple overtime loss to Oklahoma in the Red River Showdown.
As for inside the football program, we’ll find out Saturday if the Texas players have heeded Tom Herman’s advice of avoiding the outside the noise as they kickoff against Baylor at 2:30 p.m. at Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium.
Criticisms about Texas football have been loud and confusing since the date in the Cotton Bowl. The Eyes of Texas school song has divided the fan base and has been a topic of constant conversation.
The Eyes of Texas has been played before and after each football game this season and that won’t change on Saturday. However, Herman and the team have had extensive conversations over the last two weeks about how they would handle the Texas gameday tradition. On Monday at his weekly press conference, Herman reiterated that the players aren’t required to acknowledge the school song, but they are encouraged to acknowledge the fans.
“The only understanding I have is that, we, as coaches, have encouraged them to appreciate and respect our fans and that has been echoed by Chris Del Conte as late as last week,” Herman said.
Herman said Texas Athletics Director Chris Del Conte met with the team to discuss the song and the school’s expectations for postgame last week.
University of Texas president Jay Hartzell reiterated on Wednesday that the song will continue to be played at official school events — even if the band won’t be performing it, because too many members object.
Longhorns fans are unified in their displeasure of the results on the field. The Longhorns have failed to live up to high expectations for yet another season.
Clearly, the transition to a new offensive and defensive coordinator hasn’t gone smoothly with back-to-back losses, putting Texas’ Big 12 hopes on the ropes. Herman said the off week from the schedule allowed the team to focus on its own scheme and identity. They can show everyone what they’ve learned against Baylor on Saturday afternoon.
Scouting Baylor is difficult with only two games on film and a mostly new coaching staff led by head coach Dave Aranda. Baylor has battled COVID-19 issues throughout the program. An outbreak forced the program to postpone last week’s game against Oklahoma State to December.
Ron Roberts, previously with the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, runs the Baylor defense and Larry Fedora, a Longhorns analyst last year and former North Carolina head coach, runs the offense. The unknown of Baylor is a challenge for the Texas coaching staff.
“Really hard, I think a little bit easier because we’ve got film on coach Roberts from his time in Louisiana, obviously different personnel, different league, different length of time to implement those schemes. I know that they’re gonna play hard. Remember, just last year, the way that they played and the culture that they had. They have a bunch of guys that run to the ball, play with great effort,” Herman said.
Lake Travis product Charlie Brewer is in complete control of the Baylor offense from the quarterback position. In his 2018 debut against the Longhorns in Austin, Brewer nearly led Baylor to a comeback win, throwing for 240 yards and a touchdown in a 23-17 loss.
Last season, Baylor walloped the Longhorns in Waco on their way to a spot in the Big 12 Championship. Brewer led the team passing and rushing in the 24-10 victory. Texas scored its only touchdown of the game in the final seconds, making the score look a little more respectable.
The Longhorns believe all of their goals are still attainable — even at 2-2 overall. The Eyes of Texas are upon them to beat Baylor and keep the season alive.