Losing has developed a familiar taste in the Longhorn program. Three consecutive losing seasons allowed fans plenty of time for their palettes to adjust to the flavor, and they have. That’s why, as the Longhorns fell down 27-7 in the second quarter against Maryland last Saturday, the feeling of familiarity swept the stadium just as potently as frustration.
Nothing has changed in the eyes of Longhorn fans — it’s the same, once-thought expired taste. It’s just from a different kitchen. They have seen Texas lose and they will not present head coach Tom Herman and the Longhorns with any type of grace period. Former head coach Charlie Strong burned up all of the patience for the both of them.
However, despite the shocking loss in the season opener, Herman’s confidence in turning this program around hasn’t wavered.
“We’ve got a saying in this program: we ain’t changing,” Herman said. “The first hiccup is not to press eject. The first hiccup is not to fire people from their jobs or fire players from their spots on the depth chart … We’re in this for the long haul and there are going to be some bumps along the way.”
The team captains and veterans — who have seen their fair share of losses in recent years — spent a large chunk of the post game interviews saying this isn’t the same team from last year. They made sure to tell the younger players, too.
“For these guys, they see a loss or something like that, and I don’t want them to get in the mindset of ‘Oh, there’s that old Texas’ or listen to the media,” senior linebacker Naashon Hughes said. “I want them to understand that this is a better team, this is a new team, and we’re not going down that same path.”
Regardless of themindset, Herman and the Longhorns have caught fire all week following the loss. However, they appear to be wearing the bunker mentality on their sleeves.
“We’re all we got right now,” sophomore wide receiver Collin Johnson said. “We’re just bonding together as a team. We’re all we got, and we’re all we need, and that’s the mindset of the team right now. We just got each other.”
A win Saturday won’t win the Longhorn faithful over. Not yet. They are still concerned about what unfolded Saturday, that’s what the majority of this week has been — discussing exactly what went wrong and what this means for Longhorn football.
However, the Longhorns do in fact have another game Saturday and they have said time and time again that they’re ready to move forward.
“As a team we just have to move it behind us,” junior offensive tackle Connor Williams said. “We can’t let Maryland beat us twice … We’ve just got to move on. We’ve got to learn from it, we’ve got to sulk in that loss and understand how much it hurts and understand we don’t want to go back there.”
Whether one loss leads to a much larger issue is to be determined. For now, the Longhorns will have a second opportunity to answer the countless questions surrounding the program, but more importantly they’ll have another shot at getting Herman his first win.