Following the blowout loss to BYU on Sept. 6, head coach Charlie Strong didn’t hesitate to call the game as he saw it.
“It’s an embarrassment,” Strong said. “It’s an embarrassment to this program. It’s an embarrassment to this University, and I knew it, and I didn’t do anything about it.”
Before that game, Strong saw that his players weren’t ready to take on BYU, and the 41-7 shellacking proved him right.
In the week leading up to the matchup against UCLA, the coaching staff hung up new signs around the locker room. The signs read PRIDE, an acronym which stands for “Players Respond In Difficult Environments.”
The signs sent a message to the players, as the Longhorns responded with one of their hardest fought losses in recent memory. Texas left AT&T Stadium dejected, having snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the game’s closing minutes.
“I feel for the kids because they fought their butts off,” said defensive coordinator Vance Bedford.
Even though both games were losses, Strong saw vast differences in how Texas played against BYU and UCLA.
“Well last week, it just wasn’t our football team,” Strong said. “And today was just an indication of how well we just go out and play and play as a team and just stay focused and prepared, how well we can play. But last week, that wasn’t us.”
With conference play looming after the bye week, the Longhorns know it will be critical that players don’t let this loss hurt the team’s chances to win future
“We just got to pick ourselves back up, and know how well you are going to handle adversity, and there’s going to be some tough losses,” Strong said. “So we’ll just see what type of team we are and how we bounce back. We bounced back last week, so we can continue to get better and better.”
Redshirt senior linebacker Jordan Hicks knows his team will need to continue to improve to win games in conference play and thinks they are on the right track to do so.
“We are nowhere close to where we need to be right now, and we’re nowhere close to where we are going to be,” Hicks said. “We will continue to work [and] get back in the lab. Like I said, we got an extra week. We got a great coaching staff that are going to keep us on the right track, and we’ll bounce back.”
Strong believes it will only be a matter of time before his team starts seeing the results of their hard work.
“The thing is that when we come back up for that bye week, [it’s] conference play again. So now everything counts,” Strong said. “So we just got to get — it’s only three games now — so we just got to pick ourselves back up, and you just got to know how to handle adversity. And there’s going to be some tough losses. So we’ll just see what type of team we are and how we bounce back. We bounced back last week, so we can continue to get better and better.”