Em­bar­rassed by los­ing, Horns know they’d bet­ter try some­thing dif­fer­ent.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - Cedric Golden Com­men­tary

Want a quick illustration of the moun­tain Tom Her­man is at­tempt­ing to climb?

His first team meet­ing pretty much laid out the dis­tance be­tween where the Texas foot­ball pro­gram is and where he hopes he can take it.

“I think I said, raise your hand if you played on a winning foot­ball team at the Univer­sity of Texas,” Her­man said Mon­day. “And there were like three hands that went up. So that’s a lit­tle bit shock­ing, but at the same time, I think they also know that we’d bet­ter try some­thing.”

Let’s hope that some­thing, what­ever it is, will yield dif­fer­ent results for fans who have en­dured three straight los­ing sea­sons while other pro­grams in the state — Texas A&M, Hous­ton and Bay­lor — have won con­sis­tently in the same time frame. In Tues­day’s open­ing spring prac­tice, Her­man gets his first foot­ball look at a team that he’s never stud­ied on video.

While I don’t to­tally un­der­stand why he didn’t look at video from last sea­son to see who gave a full ef­fort — and more im­por­tant, who didn’t — Her­man hasn’t run away from the vi­tal sta­tis­tics, and that’s the 16 wins in three sea­sons.

He said the up­per­class­men, who have been home for the post­sea­son the last two years, have been more re­cep­tive than the group he in­her­ited in 2015 at Hous­ton, which was com­ing off an 8-5 sea­son, in­clud­ing a huge come­back win over Pittsburgh in the Armed Forces Bowl. For its part, Texas hasn’t won a bowl game since beat­ing Ore­gon State 31-27 in the 2012 Alamo Bowl.

“I think there were some kids there that still kind of looked side­ways at us when we told them to do cer­tain things,” Her­man said. “But here I think our guys are em­bar­rassed, and they un­der­stand that change is nec­es­sary in or­der to achieve some results.”

So it be­gins. It’s safe to say Her­man would be feel­ing a lot bet­ter about this of­fense if he had the ser­vices of 2,000-yard rusher D’Onta Fore­man, who wasn’t able to work out at the NFL scout­ing com­bine af­ter it was dis­cov­ered that he had stress frac­ture in his foot.

Chris War­ren III has the most skins on the wall of the play­ers in the run­ning back room, but Her­man seems to be wait­ing for him to be­come a bat­ter­ing ram with great feet. Sort of what Fore­man was over his last two sea­sons.

War­ren ran for 366 yards last sea­son and av­er­aged 5.9 yards per carry be­fore he hurt his knee in the Big 12 opener at Ok­la­homa State.

“I kind of pulled him aside dur­ing one of the work­outs,” Her­man said, “and I said, you have been a very pleas­ant sur­prise, and you’re go­ing to make a lot of money some­day play­ing this po­si­tion — if you put your pads down and run through some­body.”

Her­man added that he hasn’t been around a back like the 250-pound War­ren who can move the way he does.

“It’s a pretty cool thing,” Her­man said, “but again, foot­ball is not played run­ning around cones.” As the Texas men limp to the fin­ish of a for­get­table bas­ket­ball sea­son, Karen As­ton’s Longhorns women have gone 2-4 since they won at Florida State in an over­time thriller. Over the last cou­ple of weeks, Texas has had the look of a team that peaked well be­fore the NCAA Tour­na­ment.

Let’s hope that isn’t the case, be­cause the Horns have been fun to watch all sea­son, from their 19-game winning streak to the emer­gence of Brooke McCarty and Joyner Holmes as the Big 12’s player and fresh­man of the year, re­spec­tively.

Los­ing in the Big 12 tourney semi­fi­nals and avoid­ing an­other matchup with pow­er­ful Bay­lor could work to Texas’ ad­van­tage with nearly two weeks to pre­pare for the NCAA opener.

“We need to get home and re­group a lit­tle bit, catch our breath in a sense and re­fo­cus on how we pre­pared and what we did in the stretch that we won 19 games in a row,” As­ton told re­porters af­ter the tourney loss to West Vir­ginia. “That would be my mes­sage to our team right now.”

The guess here is that a cou­ple of home NCAA games — Texas still has a great chance of host­ing — will cure a team that hasn’t been dominant for

quite some time. Jerry Jones didn’t

close the door on Tony Romo’s re­turn­ing to the Dallas Cow­boys next sea­son, and he prob­a­bly smiled when he heard that Tampa Bay was pre­pared to pay Mike Glen­non $7 mil­lion in 2017 to back up starter Jameis Win­ston.

Mike Glen­non isn’t Tony Romo. If you watched Romo in the regular-sea­son finale against Philadel­phia, you saw a QB who can still make plays as a starter in this league, for much more than $7 mil­lion, I might add.

With that said, Romo, who will be 37 by the time train­ing camp starts, re­mains an in­jury risk but one that would be worth tak­ing on if you’re a QB-poor team like the New York Jets, Hous­ton Tex­ans or Chicago Bears.


Coach Tom Her­man says that by the time the spring game ar­rives April 15, he wants the Horns “to know what cham­pi­ons prac­tice like.”

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