If the past two weeks haven’t been motivation enough to turn around a win this Saturday, then the pressure to set the season on a new path surely has to be in the forefront of every players' mind -- especially for those athletes playing their last season.
Frustration has been a constant theme this season for Texas, boiling over in the OSU game with questionable calls and odd mistakes, even leading to an unsportsmanlike conduct call against Strong.
No doubt, the team is feeling the sting of such heartbreaking losses, but the challenge for them now is taking that passion (or frustration, whatever you call it) and turning it into plays that are smart, clean, and effective.
Even though the seniors have been somewhat unimpressive this season, making mistakes that aren’t usually seen in veteran athletes, the OSU game sparks more confidence of the senior’s abilities.
Performances by senior wide receivers Marcus Johnson and Daje Johnson have helped give life to the offense, with seniors Sedrick Flowers and Taylor Doyle helping out on the offensive line. However, the seniors still need to do more with their limited time left.
Some additional aggression can be good for Texas, but how they channel it through their plays will make all the difference. No more sloppy fouls or misconduct by the team.
Play caller Jay Norvell has a lot of hope for the season, even with the tough schedule ahead of the Horns.
Norvell said Tuesday’s practice was probably "the best practice" they’ve had all season.
"We’re doing some things like a no-huddle football team, moving around [and] communicating," Norvell said. "We got more plays run today than we ever had in a practice and I think that’s a great sign."
This could be an indication that Texas is ready to play hard, use their frustrations, and turn them into productive plays. Although the changes in how the team is practicing could attribute to the noticeable differences Norvell noticed, it could also be a byproduct of a players-only meeting held on Sunday.
Freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard described it as a type of "come to Jesus" talk.
"Some players came together and called a meeting because we just needed to hear each other's voices," Heard said. "We definitely needed that, and we rallied up and we needed to hear each other's voices and just hear what needed to be said."
Before the meeting occured, Flowers called out teammate Marcus Hutchins, who subbed for Kent Perkins during the OSU game, for not being prepared. Whether this was discussed in the players meeting is unclear, but Norvell said he wished more of the team would speak up, and give constructive criticism.
"We need more ownership. We need more guys that are willing to stand up for what they believe in," he said. "I think that will show on the field as well -- that type of conviction shows confidence."
What the team might have said to one another could have had a profound effect on their practice Tuesday, and for the sake of Texas, it needs to last until (at least) the TCU game.
Instead of licking their wounds, the team is rubbing some dirt in it and preparing for a battle.
"That’s not a team that’s feeling sorry for themselves," Norvell said. "That’s not a team that has their lip stuck out. They’re working and they’re excited about their opportunity -- and they should be."