Texas (1-2) is coming off a bye week after falling to then-No. 4 USC, 27-24, in double overtime on Sept. 16. Longhorn players caught up with the media on Monday evening as they prepare to open Big 12 play against Iowa State on Thursday night in Ames, Iowa. Here are three storylines.
Texas recovers from loss to Trojans
The season is long, but some losses stick with teams more than others. Although Texas’ near-upset of the Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum seemed to be that way, the Longhorns appear ready to move on.
“It was tough at first,” senior linebacker Naashon Hughes said. “Everybody was disappointed from the loss. Guys were looking at the film and watching the plays (saying), ‘This play here would have won the game’ … it was tough for a long time, but I think we all grew from that.”
Head coach Tom Herman said there are no moral victories immediately following the three-point loss. One week later, Hughes and his teammates are delivering the same message.
“There’s no moral victories in football,” Hughes said. “We still lost the game. There’s good things and there’s bad things, but overall, we still lost so there was no celebration or moral victory.”
The bye week has forced the Longhorns to deal with the bitter taste the loss to USC left in their mouths for over a week.
“We’re foaming at the mouth over there,” Hughes said. “We’ve been hitting each other for a week and a half now. I’m glad the game is on Thursday, honestly. Just because we want to go out there — we proved last week that we could play with anybody, now (we want to) go out there and show that again.”
Daniels leaves Texas program
Immediately following the Longhorns’ media availability Monday evening, Texas confirmed that redshirt freshman defensive tackle Chris Daniels has been granted a full release from the program and will transfer from the school.
Daniels, a four-star recruit from Euless Trinity High School, redshirted last season before choosing to leave the 40 Acres after just three games into the 2017 campaign.
Texas utilizes bye week to scope out Big 12 competition
Junior defensive end Chris Nelson hosted many of his fellow defensive players over the weekend to watch the games of several of their conference foes, including Baylor’s near upset of No. 3 Oklahoma in the Bears’ 49-41 loss in Waco.
“We were watching Oklahoma and Baylor and we were like these guys are playing and they’re keeping up with the people that won the Big 12 and are leading the Big 12,” Hughes said. “And we’re like if we keep playing the way we are, we could go out and win this entire thing,”
The Big 12 Conference is notorious for providing shocking results. Kansas proved that with its 24-21 upset victory over Texas last season. It was the Jayhawks’ first win over the Longhorns since 1938.
Now that conference play has begun, it’s only a matter of time before similar results plague a Big 12 team’s season. And Texas knows it can happen to anybody.
“We watched all the Big 12 games,” Nelson said. “I was kind of shocked, but at the end of the day, you can’t sleep on a team. You can’t. At the end of the day, they’re gonna come out there ready. Each and every game you have to be ready.”