AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Longhorns close out the regular season against Texas Tech Friday at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Texas is reeling after back-to-back losses on the road with a poor performance at Baylor Saturday.
The final game of the regular season will be the final home game for the Longhorns senior class.
Texas Tech won’t be playing in a bowl game this year after last week’s loss to Kansas State. The Red Raiders will definitely play loose using this final game as a quasi-bowl game.
Texas head coach Tom Herman met with the media Monday to discuss the state of the Texas program.
“Really disappointed in the last couple of weeks. Not just in the outcome but in how we lost those games. My message to the team is…we’re not where we had expected to be. We haven’t played to our standard, we haven’t coached to our standard, but none of that matters this week. We owe it to our senior class…to put us in this position to be successful moving forward. There’s nobody in that locker room that shouldn’t feel a debt of gratitude. Short week. Difficult on the coaches and players. We did not practice yesterday. We just met and watched the film of the previous game. With us practicing today, last night was a long night for the coaching staff. “
Juwan Mitchell- hamstring injury
Anthony Cook- out
Cade Brewer- out (should be back for bowl game)
Sam Cosmi- ankle sprain
Devin Duvernay- knee contusion
Jalen Green- ankle sprain (questionable)
Collin Johnson- out (should be back for bowl game)
DeMarvion Overshown- ankle sprain
Follow up on headbutting Malcolm Roach’s helmet before Baylor game:
“My head is fine. If the nation had been paying attention, I did that during my three years at Ohio State and two years at Houston. In my old age, I had kind of gotten away from it. But I was pretty pumped up.”
On if coaches failed the players with offensive game plan:
“These are kids that are good kids and they’re going to want answers. In my opinion, when you play such a unique defense back-to-back weeks…there is a fine line in saying ‘hey, some of our base stuff isn’t going to be good’ so you say ‘OK, we need to do D, E and F’. There’s got to be a fine line that it becomes…we thought the plan was great. I remember asking Sam Ehlinger…’Coach, I thought it was great. I felt better about it than Iowa State.’ We didn’t do a good enough job as coaches getting the plan executed.”
On motto of 10-80-10 commitment model from players and how do you keep players bought in:
“The middle 80 can gravitate towards one or the other so we have to rely on our top 10. Relationships, making sure that these guys understand that we want what is best for them. We’re trying to win for them. We’re on their side.”
On decision making process for offensive play calls:
“We do more than any other year…we’ve put some on Sam and he’s handled it really well. He’s super shard. In today’s day and age, you could line-up in a formation and call a play and the defense wouldn’t move. Now you have to check on defense. A lot of the communication is pre-snap. In between series, there’s talk of ‘OK, this is working because of this. Let’s do this more’. Then you have mini-script for the next series and the next series.”
You have the final say on what’s called?
On if coaching staff has done a good job developing the talent:
“No, we haven’t. I haven’t. Everybody…the players haven’t. We’re all in this together but at the end of the day…the buck stops with me. That’s my charge in the offseason to get these guys better developed and get these guys in position to better succeed. The players also have to decide to be in position to be developed.”
Who does Herman lean on in tough times?
“Coach Brown, certainly. Just because he knows this place. Coach Davis…having Larry Fedora in the building everyday has been really beneificial for me. My wife…the circle is small…I can tell you that. They’ve been good help along the way. We’ve played phone tag I’m hoping to get a hold of him today.”
On if Herman has been too tough on this team:
“My job is to protect the culture, not feelings but I do think…this time comes up any time you’re not experiencing the success that you want. The vocal minority gets a lot of the attention. Go ask Sam Ehlinger or Collin Johnson or Devin Duvernay if I’m bad cop or Malcolm Roach. The list goes on and on of guys that know and understand how much I care about each and everyone of my players and it’s important to me. As I’ve said many time, the one word that is so critical is understanding our program is parental. We are going to shower them with unconditional love. We’re going to be there in times of need. We’re going to provide them with every resource there is to be successful. Also we’re going to hold them to a very high standard. We’re going to teach them how to not make that mistake again. My mom was not my friend. My mom was my mom. I think as coaches maybe that gets misconstrued. It’s a lot of love…sometimes tough love. For the most part, they’ve been receptive to that love. To me, holding people to a standard that is set is not playing bad cop…that’s my job. It doesn’t mean when I hold something accountable for something they are doing that is going against the things that we believe in as a program…that I don’t love them. The youth today gets that a little confused…well, coach Herman scolded me so how can he say that he loves me. My mom scolded me all of the time and I never once doubted that she loved me. I would just caution anyone that believes the vocal minority happens to be the voice of the team because it’s not. There’s a lot of guys in there that would do anything for this program, for myself as the head coach, for their position coach because those lieutenants…we’ve all got to have great relationships for us to succeed.
On coaching staff failing to develop players this year:
“Yes. You evaluate. We’ve got a saying around here and I learned it from Coach Meyer…I’ve been on staffs where the coaches aren’t getting the response from a kid and it’s…’that kid, that kid’. No, that coach. You’re the adult. You’re the one that does this for a living. We’re never going to blame the players so it’s our job…we recruited them and their personalities. It’s our job to find the right buttons to push. If you’re giving them these tools and the young man is not using those tools, it’s still your job. There’s a definite fine line of leading a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. I don’t know…dunk his head in the water or lead him to a different trough. We’ve got to figure out this offseason where we’ve failed and make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
On facing Texas Tech in finale:
“I don’t know if we’ll be tight. I imagine they’ll be loose at Texas we’re going to get everybody’s best shot. We know we’re going to get Texas Tech’s best shot. I think the motivation is not a winning record…I think it has to be those seniors and really paying a tribute to what they’ve meant to the foundation that’s been set here.”
Does Herman think he’s the right man for the job?
“I’m not shaken. In big-time evaluation mode of everything throughout our program, I’m not going to bury my head in the sand. It’s my job that we play to the level that is expected at the University of Texas. Am I the right man to do it? I believe I am…you’re asking me…did you expect that I’d say no and just walk off (laughing).”
Is this the hardest coaching year?
“The first year here? That was pretty tough.”
On senior class:
“They stayed when they got here and they bought in. A couple took longer than others but with this group when you say jump they say how high? They don’t ask questions. They’re unbelievable soldiers. We will forever be indebted to them because of their development.”