No. 10 Texas still has the same championship goals under Rodney Terry


Matthew Caldwell, Associate Sports Editor

Since the firing of now-former head coach Chris Beard, there has been a big question mark surrounding the program. Questions about whether the team can reach its original expectations without Beard have risen.

For now, this is interim head coach Rodney Terry’s team, and it’s his job to make the best of this talented Texas roster.

Texas didn’t have much time to soak in the news, as it had a game against Rice that night. Details were still unclear, and there was no word of if Beard would be able to coach. Just an hour before tipoff, it was announced that Terry would step in as interim head coach — but it was unclear if Terry’s new role would be for that one game or for the foreseeable future. The Longhorns seemed understandably rattled and needed overtime to take down the Owls at home.

From there, Texas won its next three games against Stanford, Louisiana and Texas A&M-Commerce, each by double digits, to head into Big 12 play.

The conference has five schools in the AP Top 25, demonstrating its competitiveness and reemphasizing how tough the rest of the season will be for the Horns.

After a contested win on the road against Oklahoma in which the Sooners had three players contribute 14 or more points, some concerns about Texas’ defense without Beard surfaced. In a loss at home, the Longhorns gave up 116 points to unranked Kansas State, the most in franchise history and something that may not have happened under Beard, who is known for being a defensive coach.

“We weren’t proud of our defensive performance when we played K-State here at home,” graduate student guard Marcus Carr said. “We knew we probably weren’t going to touch a ball (that day) unless we were stealing it or rebounding it on defense.”

This seemed to work, as Texas allowed just 46 points against Oklahoma State on the road, coming out with a 56-46 win, proving that the defensive adjustments were pivotal.

Heading into its game against No. 17 TCU, Texas had successfully played multiple currently ranked opponents. Unranked opponents like Baylor and Texas Tech are not necessarily considered easy opponents either. With a gauntlet of a schedule like the Longhorns have, they must adapt under Terry.

And they’ve done just that. Since Terry took over as the interim head coach, Texas has posted a 7–1 overall record and a 3–1 Big 12 record. 

“It’s been a comfortable transition,” Carr said in a press conference Jan. 9. “Our expectations and standards are still the same.”

Senior forward Timmy Allen has also expressed his praise towards Terry.

“I think Coach Terry’s always done a good job,” Allen said. “Coaching the way he knows how to and inspiring us, he’s always been someone I can lean on and go to for advice or basketball information. It’s nothing new for us.”

This was especially evident during No. 10 Texas’ matchup against TCU. The team found themselves down 18 points in the first half and things were looking bleak. After cutting the lead to 13 points going into halftime, it was clear the Longhorns would need to play harder if they wanted to come out victorious.

“The game’s never over, you keep working it and put yourself back in position again,” Terry said after the game.

The players believed it was possible and leaned on Terry to get the job done. Texas outscored TCU by 17 in the second half, winning by four in front of a raucous crowd that willed the team to a win.

The schedule doesn’t get easier, and this game will serve as a building block for the program as well as added belief that the team can still aspire for a championship under the leadership of Terry.

“Coach Terry does a great job,” Allen said. “There’s no surprise what we’re doing with him here.”