Now in his second year as Texas’ head coach, Tom Herman has outgrown whatever grace period he had in Austin.
Herman learned that the hard way last week when his team once again lost its season opener to the lowly Maryland Terrapins. Interim Maryland head coach Matt Canada put together an offensive game plan that apparently caught UT by surprise, and the Longhorns played sloppy football from start to finish. Not surprisingly, Herman’s efforts to paint the loss as a step forward by his team drew scorn from members of the media.
A home date with Tulsa should give the team a chance to get back a little of confidence lost in the Maryland dud. More importantly, the ‘Horns seem to need all the reps in the live action that they can get.
Tulsa at Texas
Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 8 at 8 p.m. ET
TV: Longhorn Network
Spread: Texas -23
Three Things to Watch
1. Tulsa’s mistakes
The Golden Hurricane dominated FCS opponent Central Arkansas on the stat sheet in week one. Tulsa nearly doubled up the Bears in total offense and gained 26 first downs to UCA’s 15. But on the heels of three fumbles in the second half, the ‘Cane trailed in the fourth quarter before securing a 38-27 victory.
Those kinds of miscues will turn Tulsa’s game with Texas into a blowout quickly.
2. Texas’ mistakes
Continuing a theme, the Longhorns did plenty against Maryland to contribute to their own demise. That include three turnovers in the fourth quarter and a boatload of inopportune penalties. (Linebacker Gary Johnson’s ejection stung the defense badly.)
Those kinds of miscues can't happen again or Texas could be facing another humiliating defeat.
3. The mood in Austin
Last week’s loss will probably put a damper on the atmosphere at Texas’ home opener. If the game is tight in the fourth quarter, will the nervous energy in the stands rub off on Longhorns on the field? (If so, maybe a smaller home crowd wouldn’t be such a bad thing.)
You would think that the desire for revenge would have lit a fire under Texas a week ago. That proved not to be the case, and the Longhorns bumbled their way through their matchup with Maryland.
Is it possible that yet another embarrassment at the hands of the Terrapins is what it takes for Tom Herman to motivate his team? Whatever it is, finding it quickly would probably put a lot of minds at ease around the Lone Star State.
Tulsa is a better team than what it showed last week versus Central Arkansas. The Golden Hurricane will test the Texas defense, even if they don’t have the horses to play with the Longhorns for four quarters.
Prediction: Texas 41, Tulsa 24
— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.