Fresh off a monumental win over Oklahoma, head coach Tom Herman walked to the podium Monday with comments about Sam Ehlinger’s strides, congratulatory text messages and Baylor’s “ridiculously high-powered offense.”
Here’s the full breakdown from Herman’s press conference:
Ehlinger’s jump from hindrance to hero
Anybody who’s kept up with Texas football over the last year and a half knows that quarterback Sam Ehlinger has had his fair share of late-game gaffes. After a huge, defining 48-45 win over what is perhaps the Longhorns’ biggest rival, it’s been nothing but all-around praise for Ehlinger.
“Our team really believes in him right now, and there is a psychology to that, certainly,” Herman said Monday. “And I think us coaches and his teammates really, really believe in him and his abilities right now.”
Ehlinger is now looking like one of the top signal callers in the Big 12 after graduating from the guy who consistently commits inexplicable turnovers to the veteran who can be relied on to lead game-clinching drives.
“We had a long conversation about just because this is Oklahoma doesn’t mean we need to get conservative and play not to lose,” Herman said. “We need to get aggressive. I didn’t say reckless. I didn’t say silly. I said aggressive and confident. It was a really good conversation and one I’m glad we had.”
Listening from inside the locker room
With a big win over OU comes big praise for a Texas head coach. When a season-opening loss to Maryland occurs, things don’t go so well.
“I was up to 197 text messages (after Saturday),” Herman said. “I got nine after we lost to Maryland. I got nine.”
Texas continues its climb up the Big 12 rankings. Fans and media personalities alike have taken notice, with the Longhorns most recently being named No. 9 in the AP Top 25 Poll.
As a result, Herman has been emphasizing the need to filter any outside noise and stay focused on the voices inside the locker room.
“I think these guys understand that the people in that locker room and the people in our program are the ones that are going to love ‘em and be by their side regardless of outcome, regardless of ranking, regardless of what is said about ‘em,” Herman said.
Back to business with Baylor
Next up on the schedule for Texas are the Baylor Bears, who have already surpassed last year’s win total by three games just halfway through the season.
“Baylor is 4–2, 2–1 in conference, and they have a ridiculously high-powered offense that can run and throw the football,” Herman said. “I think that’s the biggest thing. It’s just a really good football team that we’re playing, and in the Big 12 they’re all going to be.”
Although the Longhorns are projected to be favored over the Bears at home, Herman doubled down on last week’s sentiment that Texas must play some of its best football to continue at the pace it’s currently on.
“Hopefully someday, our C game will be good enough to beat some people,” Herman said. “But right now I think our kids really, really believe that we have to play our best to win.”