It’s no secret that Texas hasn’t exactly been Texas for quite some time now.
Former Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong has received the brunt of the bashing after Texas dropped a whopping 21 games throughout his three-year tenure on the Forty Acres, but the losing dates back to the latter years of the Mack Brown era.
In fact, despite his legendary legacy, it only took Brown’s Longhorns one more year to match the 21-loss total that sealed Strong’s fate, as each of Brown’s final four seasons in Austin concluded with loss totals of seven, five, four and five, respectively.
Collectively, the final four year’s of Brown’s career at Texas and the entire Strong era gave way to 42 losses in seven seasons, which highlights a true fall from greatness after the Longhorns lost just 12 total games in the previous seven seasons between 2003 and 2009.
While the glory days of Vince Young and Colt McCoy may still remain fresh on the minds of many, as Herman said, that’s not exactly the case with the current crop of upcoming recruits.
”Since the class of 2018 was 10 years old, they've seen two winning football seasons at Texas,” Herman said. “It's our job to show them what UT is capable of."
“The Texas they know is a lot different than the Texas we know,” Herman added.
Meanwhile, as the Longhorns were losing an average of six games per season throughout the past seven years, power programs from around the nation such as Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, Michigan and UCLA, just to name a few, calmly strutted into The Lone Star State and nabbed recruits from the state’s traditional power.
Such is life in recruiting the talent-rich state of Texas.
"When Texas is down, other schools smell blood in the water a little bit," Herman said, noting his recruitment of prospects such as JT Barrett, Dontre Wilson, Demetrious Knox and Mike Mitchell during his time at Ohio State.
The 2017 ‘Texodus’ serves as a perfect example of how a program abundant with resources and brand recognition can see recruits flock outside of the state’s lines when the product on the field isn’t up to par. Recruits wanted to stay home, But Strong and the Longhorns couldn’t provide them with a tangible reason to do so.
So how can Texas finally stop the bleeding?
As Herman said, the Longhorns can’t get used to what the program has endured for nearly a decade now.
“Losing has to be awful and you can never get used to losing,” Herman said. “That is one of the biggest downfall of a lot of teams. You get used to losing."
Such has almost become the norm in Austin, and even entering what’s projected to be turnaround season at Texas, the Longhorns were picked to finish fourth in the Big 12 media poll. Picking Texas to finish fourth in the conference throughout the early-to-late 2000s would have been considered borderline blasphemous, but these are different times on the Forty Acres. Now coming to the end of an offseason that, per usual, has been chockfull of hype and heightened expectations for a coach and program seeking to ultimately re-establish itself atop the college football landscape, Herman understands the expectations that may come due to his success at Houston.
"They love to throw on their burnt orange sunglasses and have all these crazy expectations,” Herman said of Texas fans.
Of course, Herman has stated seemingly countless times that his own personal expectation at Texas is to win championships, but as far as 2017 is concerned, let Herman tell it: “I don’t know.”