I am not a Tom Herman fan. I liked Charlie Strong. Herman strikes a nerve with me and I feel like he lobbied for this job before the season was over in 2016, BUT, he is right. This game was better than the one last year. The offense line had a clue. They protected the passer and Texas ran the football. The Horns developed a decent, logical play-calling scheme. The defense was good save for 7-8 minutes of the game. Remember this is a defense that was without its two middle linebackers for a portion of the game due to targeting penalties. They had a true freshman starting at boundary safety; a very difficult position mentally. There were at least two Maryland scoring drives that were enabled by third down Texas penalties on top of all of that.
All of those things really hurt Texas in this game... which they played right with a healthy P5 opponent. I doubt Maryland is a top 25 team, but the Terps are better than they were last year.
I have said it a million times: Protect the football, play good defense, win the turnover battle, and limit penalties. Those three things will lead to winning football games.
Turnovers 3-0 in favor of Maryland. Texas committed all three fourth quarter turnovers. Lost.
Penalties. Texas 10/102, Maryland 7-44. Lost
Defense? It Gave up 407 yards, 34 points, and forced no turnovers. Lost
The good news is, like Herman said, all of the contributing causes to the losses in the key elements of the game are correctable mistakes.
This team can get back on its feet and beat Tulsa.
They can beat USC the following game as well. I have no doubt in my mind. The things we saw Saturday were on-field mistakes (sometimes hustle mistakes) that can be corrected with the right focus. I said it when Strong was here and I will say it again — firing coaches will only set the program back 3-4 years, again, and that is not the answer. Continuing to put the pressure on these young men and place their coach on the hot seat will not help matters.
This is who we are, and the fan base is a big reason for that. Remember Kirk Herbstreit’s comments on what he thought of the fan base? Settle down, be patient, and let this team develop. They most likely are not a ten win team this year, but nobody should be expecting that. Sure, they have the talent to be there, but there are still some lessons to be learned for this team. I can say this without a doubt, however, that the Texas Longhorns are a better team right now than we were one year ago.