Herman proud of young Longhorns after dominant bowl win despite injury to star QB Ehlinger

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SAN ANTONIO (KXAN) — Behind Bijan Robinson and Casey Thompson, the Texas Longhorns set offensive records in a 55-23 Alamo Bowl win against Colorado. Texas doesn’t lose in bowl games under head coach Tom Herman. Texas is now 4-0 in postseason contests under their current head coach.

Robinson earned offensive MVP honors, tallying 220 total yards of offense and three touchdowns. Thompson replaced an injured Sam Ehlinger at the start of the second half and matched an Alamo Bowl record with four passing touchdowns.

Texas turned a 17-10 halftime lead into a rout, outscoring the overmatched Buffaloes 38-13 in the final two quarters.

Texas finishes the 2020 season with a 7-3 record and some momentum with young players stepping up to lead Texas to victory. Here’s what Herman said about the win.

Opening Statement

“Most importantly proud of our players. Man, what they’ve been through these last 10 months is indescribable, absolutely indescribable. They deserve all the credit in the world for going through what they went through just to get to this point.

“We got to this point. They had fun. They played for each other. It wasn’t always pretty certainly. We literally had guys out there that were playing their first snap of college football in the Valero Alamo Bowl. For those guys to go out, too, considering how thin we were, still finish the game the way that we did, I couldn’t be prouder, couldn’t be prouder.

“It’s always a good thing to end your season with a win, to send these seniors out with a great taste in their mouth, start the off-season with a lot of positivity. A really, really good sign of things to come that we’re capable of doing.”

On Bijan Robinson’s performance and lack of touches in the 2nd quarter

“A lot of it was on the offensive line we had a lull there in the second quarter. We were trying to jump start some things. Bijan had some great runs in the second half being fresh. That’s kind of what we do and the missed opportunities in the second quarter. I don’t think it would’ve mattered which running back was in the game.”

On Casey Thompson’s performance

“This was a very complicated and complex defense we were playing. I thought Mike simplified and Casey delivered.”

On impact of young players stepping up

“I think to see all of these young guys perform the way they did. We didn’t play perfect by any stretch. We’ve got to find a way to defend the pass a little bit better and make plays on the ball on the perimeter on defense. We’ve got to find a way to not get so stagnant at times offensively. We went a few drives there that stalled out on us in the second quarter.

“Other than that, yeah, I mean, I think I said it in my opening remarks, to see all of these young guys do what they did and win the game the way that we did, convincingly that way, definitely I think puts a smile on a lot of us coaches, on our faces, knowing what we’re going to be able to work with in the off-season.”

Are the young players the future of the program?

“It’s pretty obvious that the young guys are the future of this program and they played really well tonight.”

Were you surprised by Casey Thompson’s performance?

“Nobody was surprised. Maybe all of you were because he hasn’t played a whole lot. But we’ve seen him in practice for three years. None of us were surprised.”

On the conversation with Ehlinger at halftime

“We talked on the sideline for a brief minute, just kind of explaining what happened. I didn’t even know when the injury occurred or what the mechanism was that caused the injury. I told him how proud I am of him. I would assume that he knows that by now, how appreciative not only me but this entire program and university is of him and what he’s done.

“What went through my mind was the last two games. It’s next guy up. Casey delivered. Hudson delivered. Everybody around them delivered. We were able to rally without our leader in there. That’s a really, really good sign of a cohesive team that knows how to practice and knows how to prepare.”

On Bijan Robinson’s development through the season

“Experience and patience. Stan Drayton has done an excellent job grooming him for these moments. When a true freshman comes in, especially with a summer that everyone was forced to have, it’s going to take some time for the game to slow down and understand. Just the evolution of where he was from training camp till now was night and day. I don’t think he’s hit the ceiling yet. He’s got a lot of work to do, but he’s shown us each and every week…a level of improvement.”

What was the conversation with Casey Thompson like?

“Mike’s a pro. I didn’t have to say a whole lot. We talked to Casey about the plays he felt comfortable with, as well. Nothing really dramatic. We smiled and said you’re up kid and I said I believed in him and said go, do you.”

How do you explain Texas’ success in bowl games?

“I think the grind of the season, the urgency of preparing each and every week can be a grind. Every now and again that grind will sneak up on you and cause you to have a bad game. When you have a chance to take a deep breath and have some fun with your teammates and bond a little bit, there’s not a whole lot of pressure of a game.

“You don’t turn these games around every five days. It’s a little bit more relaxed atmosphere knowing that you’ve got time to prepare. The level of urgency, until you get to the last few days of preparation, it’s more about honing in on your fundamentals, improving.

“These young guys did not have a spring practice. To allow them to really hone their individual skills, get familiar again with the schemes on offense and defense. Then not have, like I said, the pressure or urgency of the repetitiveness of the grind of a season is really the only way to best describe it.”

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