07/16 18:01 CDT Texas says 10-win season not enough to be 'back' in Big 12
Texas says 10-win season not enough to be 'back' in Big 12
By STEPHEN HAWKINS
AP Sports Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) --- Tom Herman knows that Texas is probably a bit ahead
of schedule after 10 wins in his second season that included making the Big 12
championship game and a Sugar Bowl victory.
That doesn't necessarily mean the Longhorns are back just yet.
"We weren't here to just have a really good season in Year 2," Herman said
Tuesday. "We were here to rebuild a program that's capable of sustaining
success, and we feel like we're on the way there."
With junior quarterback Sam Ehlinger, the preseason Big 12 offensive player of
the year, the Longhorns are picked to again finish second in the league behind
four-time defending champion Oklahoma.
The Longhorns won the Red River rivalry game at the State Fair of Texas last
October. But the Sooners won the conference title game at the home stadium of
the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, where the two-day Big 12 media days wrapped up
Tuesday and where the championship game will be played again in December.
"When you take over a program that hadn't won 10 or more games in a decade, and
had gone through three straight losing seasons, there's some work to be done,
in terms of being able to sustain a level of success that everybody associated
with Texas football expects," Herman said. "I was really proud of our players
for their buy-in level last season, and the results on the field showed that.
It's still a work in progress."
With four new coaches in the Big 12 this season, the biggest turnover in league
history, only Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy, TCU's Gary Patterson and Iowa
State's Matt Campbell (going into his fourth season) have been in the league
longer than Herman.
After success outside the Power Five, two of the coaches featured on the final
day are just getting started --- Kansas State's Chris Klieman and West
Virginia's Neal Brown.
Brown, who took over the Mountaineers after Dana Holgorsen left for Houston, is
coming off three consecutive 10-win seasons with bowl victories at Troy. He is
returning to the Big 12, where he was Texas Tech's offensive coordinator from
Klieman was part of seven FCS championships the past eight seasons, including
four in his five years as head coach. He replaced the retired Bill Snyder, who
won 215 games in his 27 seasons.
"What coach did at Kansas State was nothing short of remarkable and I'm going
to feed off that," Klieman said. "We have a great culture because of what coach
did. I know I'm not going to fill his shoes. I'm just trying to continue in his
legacy, but doing it our own way."
Herman said he looks at Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, whose Tigers have won two
of the past three national championships. It was in Swinney's eighth season
when the Tigers finally won a championship, in 2016, before beating Alabama
again last season. The last national championship for Texas --- the last for a
Big 12 team --- was the 2005 season, Mack Brown's eighth in Austin, though the
Longhorns did get to another title game in 2009.
"I'm not saying we're setting the bar for seven years, but what I'm saying is
we want win championships, and we want to win them now," Herman said. "But we
were brought here to rebuild a program and that takes time."
Ehlinger threw for 3,292 yards with 25 touchdowns and only five interceptions
last season. He also ran for 16 scores.
Criticism of Ehlinger from former Oklahoma and Heisman Trophy-winning
quarterback Baker Mayfield is one thing; it was different when NFL Hall of Fame
quarterback Terry Bradshaw recently told a group at Louisiana Tech, his alma
mater, that Ehlinger "ain't that good."
Herman and Ehlinger both downplayed the Bradshaw comment, though Herman said
his quarterback loves to play with a chip on his shoulder.
"I'm sure he'll use this to crank it up a notch," Herman said.
Ehlinger was asked if it was something like out of a dream to be answering
questions about Bradshaw.
"I don't know if this is a dream, to tell you the truth," he told a crowd of
reporters. "Regardless of what happens, to be in this situation at the
University of Texas is what I dreamed of. It's a blessing within itself."
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