“Longhorn Nation... we’re baaaaack.”
Sam Ehlinger’s proclamation just moments after the Texas Longhorns’ Sugar Bowl win over the Georgia Bulldogs was made in good fun and celebration, but it certainly isn’t a statement that those around the Moncrief — Neuhaus Athletic Center live by, or even give much thought to.
But why not celebrate Texas’ return to the national stage, boldly stand behind the statement that the Longhorns losing ways are in the past, and that this proud and once prominent program is back to its true form?
In the never-complacent mind of Texas head coach Tom Herman, it’s because claiming that Texas is back is essentially saying that Texas is content and where it wants to be.
“We’ll never us that phrase in our program because there’s a finality to it,” Herman said of the Texas is back remarks. “There’s an end to it. We’re on the right track. We’re constantly improving. We’ll never arrive at being back. We will always be pushing to improve.”
“Now where that ceiling takes us, I don’t know,” Herman added. “But we’re never going to put a finality on our goals to say, ‘hey, we’ve arrived.’ That’s foolish.”
While it would be safe to assume that any Texas fan would be ecstatic with the Horns matching the success that the program enjoyed throughout the 2000s, Herman’s sentiments should also serve as music to the burnt orange nation’s ears.
The national hype that’s surrounded the program since that Sugar Bowl makes it especially easy to buy into the Texas is back talk, and understandably so. The Horns are aiming to build upon the program’s first 10-win season in just shy of an entire decade, but that reality, in and of itself, supports Herman’s point.
Texas just enjoyed its best campaign since the Colt McCoy era, yet that season still featured four losses, including one in the Big 12 Championship, which solidified Texas’ 10th-straight effort without a conference crown. For as much as this rebuilding Texas program has accomplished under Herman in short order, already winning more games than it had during the losingest three-year stretch in school history, the Horns still have plenty more to accomplish.
If you want a specific win number or count of how many championships it will require to define those accomplishments, you won’t get it from Herman.
He doesn’t care about that, or if people consider Texas to be back. He just knows Texas is on the right track.
“I do know that we’re on the right track, absolutely. What that means in wins and losses from year-to-year, I don’t know, but we were brought in to rebuild a program, not just one season here and there. This is a program that needs to be able to sustain success and that takes time.”