After a crushing loss to Oklahoma on Saturday, the Texas football team is now 2–2. The fanbase is growing impatient, and the program seems to be going nowhere fast in Tom Herman’s fourth season as head coach. But before he delved into the team’s on-field issues Monday, he addressed “The Eyes of Texas” controversy.
“There are very strong emotions on both sides,” Herman said in a Monday teleconference. “We have discussed this and will continue to. I’ve encouraged our staff and team to join me in participating after games if they are comfortable doing that. I do believe it’s important that we acknowledge and thank our fans after a hard-fought game.”
The Longhorn fans Herman wants to honor have expressed their distaste for Texas’ play on the field. Herman said Monday that the players and coaching staff are working hard to meet their expectations.
“We are working night and day, around the clock, to give them the team that everyone wants to see out there,” Herman said.
This week, however, the team is going to take some time to rest during the bye. Junior safety Caden Sterns is nursing a toe injury, and sophomore wide receiver Jake Smith reaggravated his hamstring before Saturday’s game. Senior safety Chris Brown is in a sling with a shoulder sprain, and sophomore running back Roschon Johsnson is also having shoulder trouble.
As injuries and losses pile up, it could be easy for the Longhorns to give up on their season, but Herman said the team is committed to winning. If they weren’t, the players wouldn’t have played Oklahoma so hard during the game that went into four overtimes, Herman said.
“A team that is divided, a team that’s fractured, a team that has lost faith and hope — they don’t play like that,” Herman said. “Teams that play that hard with that much belief are teams that are together.”
He said he hasn’t lost this team, despite what those on the outside may think and the continued polarization over “The Eyes of Texas” between players and fans.
The season is not lost either, Herman said, echoing his sentiment last week after the loss to TCU. Texas also lost two games in a row in 2018, when the Longhorns played for a Big 12 Championship and defeated then-No. 5 Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.
“They’ve played a lot of football, and they understand that there’s a lot of football left to be played, and they’re excited to get back out there and go to work and go 1–0 next week against Baylor,” Herman said.
Effort may not be the issue, as a lack of discipline has plagued the Longhorns in recent weeks. Penalties hurt Texas for the second week in a row, subtracting from progress the Longhorns made on the field.
“I think they’re all different,” Herman said. “Some come from overexuberance and trying to do too much. Some come from a lack of attention to detail.”
The Longhorns must work out their issues if they want to win football games. Herman said he acknowledges this and so do the players.
“Our guys are hungry and ready to get back out there on the practice field,” Herman said. “There is so much of this season left to play.”