HERMAN: UT’S ‘FAT GUYS’ SHOULD LOSE SOME WEIGHT
Embarrassed by losing, Horns know they’d better try something different.
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.”