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Herman discusses injuries, mindset of team heading into Texas-OU

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Coming off a 33-31 loss to TCU, Tom Herman will be entering perhaps the most important game of his tenure as Texas’ head coach as the Longhorns prepare to take on Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. The Sooners are coming off back to back losses to open conference play, the most recent a 37-30 loss in Ames to Iowa State. Ahead of Saturday’s matchup, Tom Herman provided numerous injury updates and discussed where his team is at heading into the Red River Showdown.

Injury updates

On the injury front, the Longhorns received some positive and negative news. WR Joshua Moore left Saturday’s game with a leg contusion but Herman described him as probable for the upcoming game. RB Roschon Johnson also was unavailable at the end of the game with a shoulder injury, but Herman said he expects the sophomore to return to practice this week and be ready to go. The biggest news centered around the return of WR Jordan Whittington, who hasn’t played since the season opening win against UTEP but returned to practice on Sunday and is on track to play against the Sooners. On the flip side, Reese Leitao (Knee), Ayodele Adeoye (Shoulder) and Tyler Owens (Knee/Hamstring) are all considered doubtful after leaving the game against TCU.

Working out issues heading into OU

Herman was quick to point out both in his conference call with fellow Big 12 coaches and in his weekly meeting with the local media that regardless of what the outcome could have been agains TCU, the Longhorns still have a lot to clean up.

“We’ve got the same issues, win or lose.”-Herman said.

The head coach did say he was pleased with how the right side of the offensive line performed compared to the previous two games, but acknowledged the defense is going through some growing paints and the coaches have to get them up to speed. The Longhorns surrendered 226 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground, including the go-ahead TD by Max Duggan on a 26-yard QB draw. The Longhorns will face another mobile QB this week in Spencer Rattler.

Current mindset of the team

The Longhorns have endured many close losses the last few years, but Herman said he is not worried about the confidence of the team following another close defeat. One of his biggest reasons was the guy they have behind center.

“We’ve had a lot of close ones around here, wins and losses in our four years.”- Herman said. “I think our guys are very confident in our ability, certainly what we were able to overcome in Lubbock added to that. Any time you have Sam Ehlinger at quarterback, you’re going to feel confident that as long as there’s a couple ticks left on the clock he’s going to find a way to get it done. We’ve always been a confident crew in tight ballgames.”

Herman also pointed to a spirited Sunday practice as a reason for optimism following Saturday’s loss.

“There was zero finger pointing unless it was right at themselves.”- Herman said about his players. “Just an overall understanding that of the things that need to happen this week and moving forward in practice for us to fix the things that are fixable. Everybody in that team meeting room and everybody at practice yesterday believes or are bought into that fact.”

Quick news and notes

  • In addition to the injuries mentioned above, Herman also mentioned Marcus Washington was dealing with an ankle injury. The injuries to Washington and Moore open up the possibility of Brenden Schooler moving out to ZWR.
  • Herman was very open in his praise for Lincoln Riley and what he has done with the Oklahoma offense. He said the Longhorns will have to find a way to prevent mismatches with Oklahoma’s tight ends, something that has hurt the Longhorns in previous matchups
  • Herman mentioned he talked with Dabo Swinney late last week and came away with a key quote from the Clemson head coach: “It’s not the water outside the boat that sinks ships. It’s the water you allow inside the boat that does.”

Jameson McCausland is originally from Frisco, Texas, where he grew up a Longhorn fan. His two favorite sports are football and baseball, both of which he covers for HornSports. He enjoys spending time with family and friends in his spare time. Jameson is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

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