Tom Herman’s Oklahoma game-week press conference has come and gone. This is the game of the year for the Longhorns — maybe, like in 2018, the first of two games of the year against the same opponent. Yet he appeared loose, not tight, sharing some laughs with the local media before the presser began.
Still, the questions he got were mostly on point. And the questions he got back that up. For the first time this season, the first five questions Herman got were not about his Longhorns but their opponent. How do you game-plan for that Oklahoma running game? What’s making Jalen Hurts so effective as a runner? Has this rivalry lived up to the hype in recent years? Does playing Oklahoma twice last year help with the game-planning? What does he admire about Lincoln Riley?
“This week speaks for itself,” he said.
What you need to know
1. Pretty good news on the injury updates:
- Tight end Cade Brewer did not suffer a concussion in Morgantown after all, and is fine.
- Defensive back Chris Brown (bruised thigh) should resume practicing Tuesday.
- Defensive back DeMarvion Overshown, who’s missed the past couple of games, should start practicing on Tuesday and, barring setback, should play.
- Running back Keaontay Ingram, who suffered a neck stinger at West Virginia, is fully cleared and practiced Sunday.
- And wide receiver Collin Johnson (hamstring), who got hurt late against LSU and has missed the last three games, practiced in full on Sunday and should play Saturday.
2. Some not-so-good news on the injury front: Running back Jordan Whittingtwon is progressing from his sports hernia surgery in early September, but is doubtful for this week. “Having him this week was maybe a bit of a pipe dream, but he has not had setbacks,” Herman said.
3. D’Shawn Jamison and Anthony Cook were the starting cornerbacks against West Virginia, and Jamison obviously had a huge game. When asked if they’ll start again against OU, Herman said, well, it depends. “We’ll see how they practice.”
The best questions Herman got today
1. With B.J. Foster now back and Overshown expected back this week, will we see a return of Texas’ Cowboy package with all those defensive backs on the field? We really haven’t seen that since LSU.
“Probably. You know, you’re still missing Josh (Thompson) and Jalen (Green) and Caden (Sterns) in the secondary, so we’ll probably be one deep in that Cowboy, and if somebody goes down, not be able to play it much.”
2. Why use up the Samuel Cosmi trick play so late against West Virginia? Was that sending a message to Norman?
“No. It was trying to score a touchdown. Touchdowns are hard to score, especially in the red zone. It was just a fortunate confluence of events — it was on the correct hash in the correct area of the red zone that we’d planned on calling that. Again, I think what gets lost in the game of football is how difficult it it is to score in the red zone when the field is that compressed. There’s gonna be two extra hats at the line of scrimmage in the run game, and when you’re throwin the football you only have to defend a few yards. So it is extremely difficult, so any trick up your sleeve you can find to gain an advantage on that … we don’t like kicking field goals in the red zone, so we’re going to pull out all the stops to score touchdowns down there.”
… and the best answer Herman gave:
He was asked about Jamison and Cook, both of whom are from Houston Lamar: “What’s the significance of two guys who play the same position from the same high school now playing at the same university maybe starting in this rivalry game?”
Herman: “Not much. I’m not trying to be smart alec. It’s a bit irrelevant where they went to high school. It’s a neat story, certainly, but once the ball’s kicked off, none of that’s gonna matter. There have been a lot of good players who’ve come out of Houston Lamar and we continue to recruit that school very heavily. These two guys just happen to be the same grade and go to the same school and have the ability to earn their way to become starting corners at the University of Texas.”
Saturday’s game at the Cotton Bowl — it’s currently branded the Red River Showdown, shootout and rivalry be damned — kicks off at 11 a.m. on Fox. The 11th-ranked Longhorns are coming off a 42-31 win over West Virginia in Morgantown; the Sooners beat Kansas 45-20 in Lawrence.
There are three teams tied atop the Big 12 standings with 2-0 records: No. 6 Oklahoma, No. 11 Texas and No. 22 Baylor.
The last 5 Texas-OU games:
2018 (Dec. 1, Big 12 title game): No. 5 Oklahoma 39, No. 9 Texas 27
2018 (Oct. 6, regular-season): No. 19 Texas 48, No. 7 Oklahoma 45
2017: No. 12 Oklahoma 29, Texas 24
2016: No. 20 Oklahoma 45, Texas 40
2015: Texas 24, No. 10 Oklahoma 17
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