The Texas Longhorns football program took an upset loss to the Maryland Terrapins for the second straight season, and Longhorn faithful are none too pleased. Texas started the season ranked at #23 on the AP Poll, as this is suppose to be a breakout season for a prestigious program that has struggled terribly the past several seasons.
Head coach Tom Herman left Ohio State after the 2014 National Championship season to take over the University of Houston program as its head man. He had been the offensive coordinator at Ohio State for the previous several seasons. In two seasons, Houston was a powerhouse organization outside of the Power Five conferences.
He left Houston after the 2016 season to take the Texas post, and it didn’t start well, taking a 51-41 loss to this very same Maryland program. This is a Maryland program reeling from a knockout blow following an investigation that found players being abused by a coaching staff. This program has their head coach suspended as more investigations follow, and interim head coach in Matt Canada who has had seven jobs in the last nine years.
This is not a good look for a guy who is suppose to be making Texas a power school again.
Is Tom Herman the right man for Texas?
The keys to rebuilding
Texas is searching for the glory days that saw them win National Championships at the end of the Mack Brown era. Vince Young’s game winning drive against the Pete Carroll led USC Trojans in 2005. The appearance against Alabama with Colt McCoy at the helm in 2009. Texas has such a rich history of success at high levels that they haven’t seen since McCoy’s era. Texas has been searching for their quarterback ever since then.
The Longhorns have started seven different quarterbacks in the past nine years. To put that into perspective, Nick Saban at Alabama has started seven different quarterbacks his entire tenure (John David Booty, Greg McElroy, AJ McCarron, Blake Sims, Jake Coker, Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa). If a program wants to be built back into it’s former glory, you have to have a quarterback to build it around.
Texas has two, Shane Buchelle and Sam Ellingher. Buchelle started the 2016 Notre Dame season opener as a true freshman and looked extremely impressive, appearing to be the new budding star at Texas. What ended up happening was Notre Dame wasn’t as good as everyone thought they’d be, went 3-9, and Texas struggled through another 5-7 season. The door was opened for Herman to take over when Charlie Strong was fired.
Texas is a name brand school. That means that by the name itself, it should be able to bring home big recruiting classes. During the Charlie Strong era, Texas never landed a recruiting class under 15th in the nation. His problems? Quarterback struggles and inability to use the talent he landed and coach it into a great team.
Tom Herman took over a recruiting class that was struggling and made it the 22nd best class in the nation in 2017 as he took over the program. This last season, his first full year in the program, Texas’ recruiting class finished 5th.
Texas has the talent in the program, so the question now becomes can Tom Herman transition talent into a team on the field?
No reason to write him off yet
Texas fans are weary of Saturdays results because of the eerie cloud of deja vu that the game had floating over it from the kickoff. However, there is no reason to write off Herman at Texas yet.
He’s still recruiting well, something that he proved he could do in Texas with the incredible amount of talent in state. He proved he could navigate through the pipelines while he was in Houston. He made Houston a powerhouse during his two years there. To summarize, there is no reason to question his ability to bring a team onto the field at a high level. He has done it everywhere he has been.
It’s a long season, folks. It’s far from being over.