The Tom Herman era at Texas has been nothing short of a roller-coaster ride for Longhorn fans.
Texas narrowly avoided the biggest upset of the college football season last year by hitting a field goal as time expired to sneak past Kansas, which finished last in the Big 12. Two years before that, Texas fell to a Maryland team that failed to qualify for a bowl game.
Last week, the team escaped Lubbock with a wild 63-56 come-from-behind win over a Texas Tech team voted to finish ninth in the Big 12’s preseason poll. Saturday’s thriller taught important lessons to a team with national championship expectations, senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger said in a Tuesday teleconference.
“You can never really prepare for a game like (Texas Tech),” Ehlinger said. “I hope the younger guys have learned that it's the Big 12 — you never know what's going to happen. I think it was a great learning lesson for everybody.”
The Longhorns know what went wrong in the Tech game. There were miscommunications between Ehlinger and his senior offensive lineman Derek Kerstetter, penalties on the offensive line and missed tackles.
Senior defensive lineman Ta’Quon Graham said he knows last week’s defensive performance won’t cut it against a TCU team widely perceived to be better than Texas Tech.
“I would say I was disappointed about our performance,” Graham said in Tuesday’s teleconference. “I'm not sad. I'm not angry about it. I just know what we can do, and what we can do was not put on tape last Saturday. It’s a new week, and we're worried about TCU now. I feel like the things that showed up in the last game are things we’re working on to get fixed, and those things were addressed.”
Josh Thompson, a redshirt junior defensive back, said last week’s defensive performance was far below defensive coordinator Chris Ash’s standards for the unit. Thompson said the coaching staff has given the players the tools to play at a higher level, and it’s up to the players to execute.
“(The coaching staff is) giving us everything that we need. We just have to go out there and use the fundamentals they give us,” Thompson said in Tuesday’s teleconference. “It's just up to us, deep down inside to go out there and utilize those tools they give us.”
But the players aren’t hitting the panic button just yet. Last week’s mistakes are all fixable, and although players won’t specify how the team plans on correcting the blunders, they’re confident they’ll be ready for Saturday’s game against TCU.
“It’s very fixable,” Thompson said. “It happened early in the season. We’ve seen the corrections we need to make on film, whether that’s … doing more tackling and everything else, but it's fixable. I'm glad it happened in that game instead of down the line.”