BEVO BEAT Football

Tom Herman: ‘I tell them all the time, our very best is good enough’

Posted September 10th, 2018

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Tom Herman’s weekly press conference

First, he gave us injury updates:

Freshman running back Keaontay Ingram, who averaged 6.3 yards against Maryland and 6.4 against Tulsa, is “probably doubtful” for this week’s USC game. He had an MRI done on his knee; Herman said it’s being labeled as “a pretty good bone bruise and strained MCL.”

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Ingram’s injury “should not be extremely long-term,” Herman said.

Starting center Zach Shackelford will miss his second straight game. He’ll get his boot taken off on Wednesday “and then we’ll see, week by week.”

The Horns reconfigured the line last week; Elijah Rodriguez moved from right guard to center, Derek Kerstetter moved from right tackle to right guard, and backup Samuel Cosmi moved into Kerstetter’s spot at right tackle.

Starting cornerback Kris Boyd, who missed Sunday’s practice with a sore neck, should play. Starting safety Brandon Jones, who missed the Tulsa game, “should do a little bit in practice this week.”

John Burt will miss the game. So will DeMarvion Overshown. Ayodele Adeoye will resume practicing on Tuesday.

Patrick Hudson update: The offensive lineman remains in the hospital, but Herman said his IV has been taken out and that his levels “are trending back to normal.”

It’s USC week. But most of the questions Herman faced today were about his Longhorns:

  • Why don’t we see this team playing with that same intensity and focus that Herman’s Houston teams showed?
  • How hard is it to say “a win’s a win” when players see the criticisms on social media and hear them on campus?
  • He knows what 28-21 over Tulsa looks like to the fan base, right?
  • Texas has one sack and two quarterback pressures against two offenses that rank around 100th nationally. What’s up with that?
  • And, in what was the most pointed question of the day: There’s a section of the fan base that thinks Herman’s arrogant, that he doesn’t take the blame for poor plays by the team, that he doesn’t tolerate questions about it or dignify their feelings that this team should be further along, especially on offense, than where it’s at right now. “What would you say to that,” asked Chip Brown of 247Sports.

Herman’s answer:

“I love our fans. Mack Brown told me when I got the job that this could be the greatest job in America because there’s tens of millions of people that care very passionately about what happens with their Longhorn football team, and it can be one that’s difficult too for the exact same reason.

“But at the end of the day, we’re never — the expectations that are put on us from the outside are never going to meet or exceed the expectations that we put on ourselves. And so, yeah, I love our fans, absolutely love ’em and hope they continue to stay as passionate about Texas football as they have been.”

Other highlights:

On why Texas hasn’t shown that UH fire: “I think every team’s different. I think to answer the question to the why, I don’t have a great one other than we’re working towards it, to get there.”

On the criticisms players may be seeing and hearing: “We have a lot of discussions about social media. … I think there were a lot of really, really positive things (in the Tulsa game). We played unbelievable red zone defense in that game, we scored on our opening possession and our final two possessions on offense — 6 minutes, 13 seconds, 13-play drive that ends in a touchdown and we get the ball back in a one-score game, your opponent has two timeouts with 4 minutes, 53 seconds left and you’re taking a knee in the red zone. That’s pretty good.”

On the lack of a pass rush through these first two games: “Our four-man rush has to improve. We also need to contain the quarterback better. … There has to be a fine line when you’re as young as we are in the secondary. The easiest way to pressure the quarterback is to blitz, but you’re also leaving a young secondary maybe susceptible to some big plays there. It’s a balancing act.”

On the trouble punching it in at the goal line: “I probably forced it a little bit too much because the front blitz that they were using on the goal line was very difficult. … So if I had to do it over again, we probably would’ve thrown it earlier when they were in their cover zero, and obviously on fourth down when they were in their zone defense, it made it a little more difficult to throw the football.”

On Sam Ehlinger’s second crack against USC: “I think you always have to tame a guy like Sam a little bit. He gets pretty lathered up on game days. Again, that’s a good thing. But using previous mistakes as motivation? I don’t see that in him. He wants to beat USC to beat USC; he doesn’t want to beat them to exact any kind of revenge or atone for any kind of sins or anything like that.”

And, for those who maybe just saw the Tulsa score but didn’t see the game, what kind of Texas team will they see against USC?

“You’re gonna see a team that’s hopefully continually improving, a team that’s excited to play USC at home. You’re gonna see a team that’s hopefully improving on the things we need to improve on all three sides of the football. Just constant improvement.”

Texas-USC kicks off at 7 on Saturday. It’ll be carried on Fox. The Trojans (1-1) lost 17-3 to Stanford on Saturday.

Here is audio of the full press conference:

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