Texas head coach Tom Herman and athletic director Chris Del Conte know things need to improve. There’s no hiding it. The excitement surrounding Texas Athletics isn’t necessarily at its peak, but the new faces of the athletic program have the future in mind.
That’s why the Longhorns are introducing the 2018 “This Is Texas” Tour.
The Texas Exes and Texas Athletics announced the official dates and locations for the tour, which will feature appearances from both Del Conte and Herman along with other special guests. The Longhorns are set to make pit stops in Midland, Amarillo, Dallas, Fort Worth, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Houston, Rio Grande Valley and Tyler from April 24 to May 23.
“We need to excite our fans and our constituents about where Texas Athletics is heading,” Herman said. “The best way to do that is go out and win a bunch of games. I get that, but we’ve also got to educate them. They’re a big part of whether we win games or not and the support and the home field advantage. The responsibility that our players and coaches feel toward our fan base, that’s real. It’s palpable.”
According to Herman, the tour was thrown together in the last month, but he still hopes to make an appearance at each of the location’s events. The Longhorns’ tour debuts with the annual Orange-White spring game at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on April 21 before hitting the road for the nine remaining dates.
“These are exciting times as we enter the next era of Texas Athletics,” Del Conte said in a statement. “I look forward to connecting with fans from every corner of the state to talk about our vision for the future.”
While Del Conte and Herman announced their plans for the future, the Longhorns hit the field on Tuesday for the first time following their Saturday scrimmage.
“I don’t get to talk after scrimmages. But it was a really good day on Saturday,” Herman said. “It was the best we’d thrown the ball consistently around here for a while.”
Herman said the quarterbacks made several explosive plays on offense, but he made one thing clear: He is OK with concluding spring football without naming a starter.
“I think it’s great,” Herman said. “Those guys have really improved. They have really accepted and ran with the challenges that we have given them in the offseason.”
The Longhorns return both quarterbacks from last season, plus two new freshmen additions, but Texas is still looking to replace holes on the defensive side of the ball, and injuries have made that harder. Texas announced senior defensive back P.J. Locke III sustained what Herman described as a “really bad stinger.” Don’t expect Locke to return for the remainder of spring football.
The Longhorns are also without senior cornerback Davante Davis, who rolled his ankle in Tuesday’s practice, as well as senior linebacker Gary Johnson. Texas also confirmed senior linebacker Edwin Freeman underwent successful surgery to repair a tricep injury.
The Longhorns have three remaining spring practices before Texas’ spring game, which will then mark the beginning of the off-field activities as the new faces of Texas Athletics try their hand at rejuvenating the Longhorn brand.
As for Herman, with all of these big events quickly approaching, he was asked the question “Are you having fun?” Tuesday night.
“Yes, a lot,” Herman said. “I’m having a lot of fun.”
Texas hits the field for practice No. 10 on Thursday.