Texas coach Tom Herman looks ahead to Red River Showdown

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The stage is set for the Cotton Bowl Saturday.

No. 11 Texas and No. 6 Oklahoma meet with rivalry bragging rights and Big 12 implications on the line.

The 2018 Red River Showdown ended with the Longhorns stunning the Sooners 48-45 on a last-second Cameron Dicker field goal. Oklahoma settled the score in the Big 12 Championship winning 39-27 to clinch its spot in the College Football Playoff.

In last year’s championship game, the Longhorns and Sooners were tied at 27 before OU’s defense rose to the occasion for (really) one of the first times all season.

A Tre Brown safety of UT quarterback Sam Ehlinger with 8:27 remaining flipped the momentum in OU’s direction giving the Sooners a 32-27 lead.

Even with more than half the season to go, Saturday’s game in Dallas doesn’t feel like the last time these teams will meet this season with another, potential rematch in the 2019 Big 12 Championship game.

Texas head coach Tom Herman met with the media Monday to break down 115th meeting between the Longhorns and Sooners.

Opening Statement

“Excited to get a big road win. Great environment, I think West Virginia has a lot to be proud of. Coach Brown definitely has them heading in the right direction. This week speaks for itself excited to start preparing, started a little last night but mostly this morning. We’ll be burning the midnight oil trying to figure out to score points and hopefully hold them to a reasonable amount.”

Injury Report
Cade Brewer- no concussion (progressing)
Chris Brown: thigh contusion (progressing)
DeMarvion Overshown: plans to practice Tuesday (probably)
Jordan Whittington: doubtful (progressing and no set backs)
Collin Johnson: full participant in practice Sunday

On OU’s offense particularly in running game:

“Not a whole lot different, they’re going to hang their hat on counter and inside zone. Probably the only difference is the designed quarterback runs. I haven’t watched a ton of them offensively during the season. During the year, some of the more prolific offenses just to see what they’re doing. Jalen Hurts is a different animal back there in terms of the style. Ton of respect in how adaptable in how that offense evolves over the years.”

On Jalen Hurts and receivers:

“His scrambles are probably what you see him get the most open on because once you realize it’s pass you’re going to go cover those guys. In quarterback run game, it’s why we believe in it. You literally have added an extra player and the ability to block.”

Rivalry game at Cotton Bowl and what it means:

“There was some public opinion that having the championship game in Dallas…that it would diminish the mystique if you will of the Red River Showdown and it hasn’t. It’s one of…if not the greatest rivalries. This one takes the cake just because of it being inter-state rivals. The two states in general don’t get along. To have it at such a historic venue. I think it’s cool it’s always on our soil. Everything that surrounds the game makes it one of…if not the best.”

Preparing for OU three times in a year:

“Different on both sides of the ball because of new defensive staff so that changes things from an offensive standpoint. Their offense does such a great job from year-to-year to adapting itself to personnel strength. They haven’t missed a beat. I think our defense can glean a little from the last couple meetings…like who are these people philosophically.”

On Lincoln Riley and if they’re cut from the same cloth:

“He’s been able to stay thin three years in to his job. I haven’t been able to do that. His ability to stay so involved in the offense but tackle the requirements of being a head coach. Before we became rivals, we used to talk a lot of shop and talk football and all that stuff. We share similar philosophies.”

On trick plays and using them against West Virginia

“We’re just trying to score a touchdown. It was a fortunate confluence of events…on the right hash and area of the red zone where we planned to call it. What gets lost in football is how difficult it is to score touchdowns in the red zone. We’re going to pull out all the stops to score touchdowns down there.”

First memory of Red River Showdown:

“I remember I was a GA at Texas and see a lady that was probably 80 years old going double-bird to the Texas bus and next to here was a little boy…couldn’t haven’t been over 8 giving a double bird to the Texas bus. It speaks to the intensity of the rivalry that crosses a lot of different generations.”

How players handle the intensity of this game:

“We’ve played in some pretty big games already. Playing LSU at home and West Virginia on the road. Maybe running out of the tunnel…they always get the tunnel. There’s a lot of not nice things said and saying things about family members. Other than that, it’s a big game and these guys fortunately for us we’ve been in a couple big games this year.”

On containing Jalen Hurts:

“It needs to be a big part of our game plan to make him feel uncomfortable. The number of sacks isn’t indicative of how the front affects the quarterback.”

On constantly facing OU Heisman contending quarterbacks:

“I think we’ve done an admirable job even in ’17 when we weren’t real good. You’re not going to shut Oklahoma out. It’s not going to be a 10-7 ball game. We know they’re going to make plays. They’re only averaging eight third down attempts a game and averaging 9.9 yards a per play. We’ve got to limit those big plays. We’ve got to move it to third down and we’ve got to get turnovers. We’ve been very successful when we’ve won the turnover battle.”

On Collin Johnson’s hamstring injury:

“He was not feeling right in the LSU game and probably our best guess…the stretched out catch against Louisiana Tech probably started something. We thought it was going to be really minor and then for Oklahoma State there was a setback Sunday. We knew we had the off week to let it heal.”

On OU’s defense and improvement:

“They are really flying to the football. Not extremelty complex in terms of coverage structure but they’re in the right place. Not any busts, not turning anyone loose. The multiplicity of their defensive front which is difficult on their offensive line. That will be a huge point of emphasis for our offensive line to handle them up front and in the run game we’ve got to do a good job with our down field blocks. I’ve been impressed with Coach Grinch in his short time there.”

On Sam Ehlinger’s maturation in three years:

“My admiration, affection, love for Sam Ehlinger is hopefully well-documented. I love him like a son. He’s mature enough to know when it’s time to have fun and when it’s ‘yes sir and no sir’. We’ve grown to trust each other quite a bit. We knew all the intangibles were there as a freshman but to see him develop into the quarterback that he has…it’s a testament to Tim Beck and I know Sam would credit him with a lot of his improvement. It can’t be overstated with three years…there’s a level of comfort. He knows the strengths and he knows the weaknesses. Right now, he knows he knows and he’s playing with a ton of confidence.”

On Kirk Johnson’s perserverance:

“I made a point yesterday I pulled him aside before practice. I looked him in the eye and told him how proud of him I was. It’s an awesome story for all the things that he’s gone through. 99% of us would’ve said enough’s enough but he didn’t. He loves the game, he loves his teammates…just a really, really special story.”

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