Longhorns look to end season of missed opportunities on high note

Nick Castillo

This season was one of missed opportunities — the disaster in South Bend, the shanked extra point against California and the shutout in Ames — and the Longhorn coaching staff isn’t afraid to admit it.

“When you win four games, you’re going to be bad at everything,” defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said. “This was a year of missed opportunities. It’s a year of inconsistencies. That’s why we are where we are today.”

The Longhorns (4–7, 3–5 Big 12) began the season with high hopes. But they quickly crumbled when Texas suffered a 38–3 loss in their season-opener against Notre Dame. Texas’ woes continued on the road as they lost four games and were outscored 150–7. The Longhorns beat Oklahoma on Oct. 10, 24–17, but never recreated that performance.

“All season we’ve been saying we’re close,” senior center Taylor Doyle said. “You watch the film — I think the effort is there. The will is there. We had the athletes. It just came down to getting the job done and not shooting ourselves in the foot.”

Head coach Charlie Strong said Texas needed better team chemistry this season.

“A lot of times it goes back to team chemistry and guys playing together and playing for what you represent,” Strong said. “It’s not always the name on your back but what’s in front of you, and that’s what it’s got to come down to. You’ve got to play for what’s across your chest.”

Texas looks to finish the season with an upset win over No. 12 Baylor. The Bears enter the game with the No. 1 offense in the country.

“[Baylor does] a great job of running the ball,” Strong said. “With [third-string quarterback Chris] Johnson, you look at the second half where he came in and played, he still made the throws because they’re still going to stretch you out. … They’re going to let [junior wide receiver Corey] Coleman run down the field and throw the ball up and see either you’re going to make a play on it or they’re going to go up and take it from you.”

Junior safety Dylan Haines said trumping the Bears in Waco would mean a lot.

“You look at this season with the wins and losses, obviously not having gone the way wanted to, anytime you can go out there … and get a win against a good team,” Haines said. “To get a win against them in Waco would mean something for our seniors.”

The Longhorns missed plenty of opportunities this season. But they want to channel their Oklahoma performance into Saturday’s game.

“I believe anything is possible,” junior linebacker Tim Cole said. “Any team can be beaten on any given day. It’s about being the best team that day. For us, we’re just going to have to don’t take this game bigger than it is and play with the same attitude we played with against OU.”