Coming off back-to-back losses against Oklahoma State and West Virginia, head coach Tom Herman admitted Texas was psychologically on . “shaky ground.”
But after a critical win against Texas Tech on Saturday, the No. 13 Longhorns officially clinched a winning record for the season and kept their Big 12 title hopes alive. Yet even with the crucial win, Herman knows Texas still has a long path ahead of them.
“Now is not the time to take a deep breath,” Herman said. “We have 12 days left in the regular season, then hopefully a couple postseason games after that.”
Sitting at 5–2 in conference play, Texas is still one game back from West Virginia and Oklahoma. While a couple upsets would help its chances, Texas can still sneak into the Big 12 Championship Game if it wins out and No. 7 West Virginia beats No. 6 Oklahoma on Nov. 23.
The Longhorns’ victory on the road also marked the team’s fifth straight win in Lubbock.
Longhorns prepare for Senior Night
Saturday’s game against Iowa State will be the final home game for 26 Texas players. Of those who will be honored, Herman believes defensive lineman Breckyn Hager and offensive lineman Elijah Rodriguez will be the most emotional.
“I think with Elijah, if there are any tears shed, it will be tears of gratitude for this university and this program, and our coaching,” Herman said. “He’s a humble guy, faith-driven individual that has no problem showing his emotion and gratitude toward us and our program.”
As for Hager, Herman said, “If you want to look up the definition of passion for your university, passion for your team, and maybe more importantly, passion for your teammates and the people that surround him, you don’t need to look any further than Breckyn Hager.”
Including Hager and Rodriguez, Texas will lose 12 senior starters to graduation this year, and that excludes the potential juniors who might declare for the NFL Draft.
“The senior class has been dialed in,” Herman said. “I think they’re hell-bent on making sure this team achieves its potential.”
Herman did say they were not preparing for any juniors to participate in senior night. Seniors John Burt and Jamari Chisholm are expected to redshirt and return to the team next year.
Herman did not address Zach Smith’s Twitter tirade at the press conference, nor did any of the media. Smith, the former Ohio State assistant coach, accused Herman late Sunday night on Twitter of cheating on his wife. Smith was fired from Ohio State in July for domestic abuse allegations that later resulted in Ohio State’s head coach Urban Meyer suspension of the first three games of the 2018 season.
After Smith was fired, Ohio State publicly confirmed that both Smith and Herman were at a strip club in 2014 for a recruiting trip. Herman addressed this report, saying “my wife knew exactly where I was, had no issue with it. I’m happy to cooperate and be honest, truthful and transparent with the NCAA.”
Smith’s ex-wife Courtney took to Facebook this morning to deny the accusations, calling Smith “completely untrustworthy and unstable.” In one particular tweet, Smith posted a text message screenshot between him and Herman where Smith, in a foul-mouthed message, threatened to “expose” Herman. Herman responded with “Ok. Cool! Hook Em!”
Herman will speak with the media again Thursday.