Head coach Tom Herman walked to the podium at his weekly press conference and delivered some much-needed reassurance to Texas fans everywhere.
“The sun came up,” Herman said.
After losing the yearly battle with Big 12 powerhouse Oklahoma, Texas has to regroup and shift its focus onto Saturday’s opponent, the 2–4 Kansas Jayhawks.
“Our guys were eager to get back to work yesterday.” Herman said. “(There was a) good energy at practice. We have completely turned the page as a team, and our sole focus, as it should be, is to do everything within our power to beat Kansas.”
There is a “24-hour rule” in place for the Longhorns. Everyone in the building is allowed to feel whatever emotion they feel after the game for exactly one day. Despite saying they’ve moved on to Kansas, the Longhorns still face the problems that were exposed during the loss to Oklahoma.
Texas’ missed tackles — an issue Herman called “glaring” — allowed some of the best athletes in the conference to run free. On a flea flicker midway through the third quarter, the tackling issue was particularly evident. Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb caught the ball up the sideline, broke two tackles from sophomore linebacker Joseph Ossai and senior defensive back Brandon Jones, cut away from three Longhorns and scored from 51 yards out.
Texas is still without sophomore safety Caden Sterns and lost senior safety Chris Brown to a fractured forearm that will require surgery.
“Again, so banged up defensively, it was not a great decision on my part, in retrospect, to limit the tackling these last few weeks in practice, and it showed,” Herman said. “We’ve got to be able to get those guys playing fast and not thinking, and the only way to do that is if they’re 100% sure in everything that they’re doing.”
The loss dropped Texas to No. 15 in the AP poll and allowed the undefeated Baylor Bears to move to second in the conference. But Texas is relaxed and confident about the potential of the rest of the season.
“There is zero sense of panic,” Herman said. “There is zero sense of ‘woe is me.’ There is zero sense of our issues being unfixable.”
One of the primary issues for the Longhorns was their defense. Lamb had a career high in catches to go along with 171 yards and two touchdowns. For a majority of the season, the secondary has been one of the weaker areas for the Longhorns. Herman said Texas understands what needs to be done, it’s just a matter of execution.
“If you’re driving down I-35 and you’re heading south and all of a sudden you realize you need to be heading north, it’s not just okay to just realize it,” Herman said. “You’ve got to do something about it, and doing something about it is getting off the off-ramp, making the U-turn and heading north.”