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2020 Texas Offseason Thread: Herman's Hail Mary

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Bowlsby SUCKS!!!

https://247sports.com/college/texas/LongFormArticle/Texas-Longhorns-Football-COVID-19-Big-12-indecision-2020-season-SEC-conference-only-schedule-BYU-Cougars-plus-one-model-149713870/#149713870_9

Big 12 indecision leaves Texas, others facing unsavory options

ByJEFF HOWE 11 hours ago

When the ACC appeared to change course Wednesday by putting off a decision as to what to do with football schedules only to unveil an 11-game slate for the league’s 14 members (10 conference games with one non-conference game to be played within the state of the member institution) later in the day, the SEC acted. Blindsided by the ACC’s move, as Brandon Marcello of 247Sports reported, the SEC announced Thursday that the league would go to a 10-game, conference-only schedule in 2020.

Through it all, the Big 12 stood by and waited.

And waited…

And waited…

And waited…

The end result has been the loss of every significant non-conference game the Big 12 had left on the docket.

Texas doesn’t get a trip to Baton Rouge to potentially get revenge in a grudge match with LSU.

Oklahoma’s blockbuster non-conference battle where it was to host Tennessee won’t happen.

Kansas State won’t welcome Vanderbilt to town and Baylor’s meeting in Houston with Ole Miss is off. The possibility of a potential Southwest Conference revival with Arkansas, TCU, Texas A&M and Texas Tech needing non-conference games is no longer in the cards either.

The Big 12, as usual, couldn’t be bothered to treat an urgent situation proactively. 

As of Thursday morning, the conference was intent on waiting until Monday to sort things out, all while sending out materials to media members ahead of Big 12 media day, which was to take place the same day. The one-day online event has since been canceled, but commissioner Bob Bowlsby went on the Paul Finebaum Show following the SEC’s announcement to say the Big 12, in essence, remains in no hurry to come to a conclusion as to what the 2020 season will look like for the conference’s 10 members.

Bowlsby said the Big 12 doesn't have to make a scheduling decision Monday, which comes three days after league members Kansas and Oklahoma begin preseason practice.   “We’ll have a board meeting next Monday, which we do every two weeks,” Bowlsby said. "And the board has everything in front of them that they need to consider schedule formats and some other things relative to the season. But whether or not they choose to act at this next meeting is not known at this point, that’s gonna be up to their discretion. They’re going to have questions about the materials that are unanswered at the time of the meeting. So we’ll work our way through it. There’s a lot happening and we think that it’s important to get the regular season, conference-portion of our schedule absolutely right, and we’ll see what happens with the rest of it.”

The indecision in this situation hurts the perception of the conference as much or more than any verdict that’s failed to have been rendered since things settled down following conference realignment a decade ago. The ACC and Big Ten (the first Power Five league to announce a conference-only schedule format in early July) were proactive adapting to a college football landscape changing rapidly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and while the Pac-12 and SEC reacted to those decisions, those leagues looked out for themselves at the end of the day.

What the Big 12 is left with now is nothing but trying to figure out which bad idea is the best one to go with moving forward. Not that the other leagues are in ideal situations, but the Big 12 is in a position where no amount of lipstick slapped on the snout of this pig will change the growing negative perception of how things unfolded.

It’s a stretch to even suggest it’s a pipedream that Texas or any of the league’s other members might be able to connect on a Hail Mary and get an ACC program on the books for a non-conference game. While the Longhorns having never faced Clemson or Florida State would make for potentially intriguing meetings in a one-off scenario, traveling to South Carolina or Florida seems counterproductive to taking all precautions necessary when it comes to following health protocols and doing what it takes to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A hypothetical 12-game schedule for Texas is feasible, but like what the rest of the Big 12 is forced to try and make work, it would be three games with Group of Five foes. Even though everyone in the Lone Star State is chomping at the bit for football, there’s no sex appeal (and nothing that will move the needle in the eyes of the College Football Playoff selection committee) to be found in a schedule featuring USF, UTEP and a Conference USA program such as Rice or UTSA currently in search of a game lost due to the SEC’s reshuffling (the Owls and Roadrunners, like the Longhorns, were scheduled to play LSU in 2020).

One scenario being kicked around message board and social media is adding BYU to the Big 12 for one year, similar to what the ACC did with Notre Dame to give everyone 10 conference games without playing someone twice. The Cougars, however, don’t bring all that much juice with them since they aren’t on the same level as the Fighting Irish when it comes to their status as an FBS independent in addition to the Kalani Sitake era producing only a 27-25 record, which includes a 7-12 mark in games against P5 opponents.

Perhaps it would be the most on-brand act for the Big 12 if a 10-game conference schedule (even if there’s a plus-1 included with a G5 opponent to match the ACC’s 11 games) included completing the league’s nine-game round-robin and then playing someone twice. For Texas, playing Baylor twice would make sense from a travel perspective, but what if the league decides in a strange year for the sport that the Red River Showdown should be played twice (potentially three times) with one game in Norman and one in Austin?

As crazy as that sounds, that scenario is probably being kicked around since all the Big 12 has left to do is grab bag for something of substance. From the time the pandemic derailed everyone’s spring plans, the Big 12 has felt a step behind, beginning in March when the league was late to the party to give conference members the green light to conduct virtual meetings and direction on what materials they could send student-athletes off on their own with campuses closed.

Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley didn’t agree with the decision (or lack thereof) and Tom Herman was right there with him in voicing his displeasure for how slow the conference office was to act.

“I think when we look back on this in the fall, hopefully, if we are able to play a season, a week or two in March is not going to be that big of a deal,” Herman said on a March 30 teleconference with reporters. “But I do wish that our conference had been in line with the other conferences that were allowing that.”

“The one thing that has me and other coaches in the Big 12 a little bit upset and a little bit confused is the ability to send your players workout equipment and tracking devices, things of that nature,” he added. “They've really restricted that moving forward, but yet other conferences have had two weeks of shipping that stuff out to their players. Are they going to make those players send it back? So we've got to figure out how to level the playing field as far as that's concerned.”

The Big 12 had a chance to put the league in a prime spot to be ready to roll in the fall, but Kansas and Oklahoma, for instance, will begin preseason practice Friday with no earthly idea what things will look like beyond the day on the practice field.

Consider the inaction par for the course for a league that always seems to be a step behind everyone else. 

 

 

Edited by LTtxfan

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Is it true that Bowlsby has pictures of every AD in the XII involved in some disgusting activity with dead women or live men? 

Is there any other feasible explanation for his continued employment?

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14 minutes ago, VirginiaLonghorn said:

I see both the Texas Football and Tom Herman twitter banners sport UT’s new school colors.  Can’t wait to see the new unis ... and hear some in the crowd humming the EoT under their breath.  

giphy.gif

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35 minutes ago, VirginiaLonghorn said:

I see both the Texas Football and Tom Herman twitter banners sport UT’s new school colors.  Can’t wait to see the new unis ... and hear some in the crowd humming the EoT under their breath.  

giphy.gif

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1 hour ago, lazygringo said:

I definitely don't want to run around in that shit in the August sun. Good luck to these men.

If it meant playing versus not, it wouldn't bother me in the least. It won't really affect breathing, but will just take getting used to like any shield does.

And Bob Bowlsby is the shittiest Big 12 commissioner we've had, and that is really saying something.

 

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9 hours ago, Tex Long said:

Is it true that Bowlsby has pictures of every AD in the XII involved in some disgusting activity with dead women or live men? 

Is there any other feasible explanation for his continued employment?

 

 

 

Edited by LTtxfan

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1 hour ago, texifornia said:

Recruiting in the recruiting threads, dude. Otherwise it all just blends together. 

"Recruiting" is just like a social construct, man.

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(Max Olson) Texas’ biggest preseason question: Do the new coordinators have enough time?

Quote

What is it going to take for Texas to play up to what seems like exciting potential in 2020? Sure, this has become more of a loaded question now that 2020 is truly a season unlike any other. But Tom Herman gets it. And he thinks about it, pausing for five seconds during a June phone interview to collect his thoughts, before he settles on a fairly obvious conclusion. “The grasp of the systems,” Herman said. “Especially on defense. Offense, there’s a lot of carryover but there’s still some differences. Defense will be very new.”

The Longhorns have legitimate Big 12 title aspirations this fall. They have lots of experienced blue-chip talent. They have a fourth-year starter at quarterback. They have reason to be optimistic about what this squad is capable of accomplishing together if this season is playable. But the dramatic changes Herman made to his coaching staff is the great unknown for his team’s chances, and all these months of unprecedented turbulence, this offseason certainly doesn’t make that transition an easy one.

Two new coordinators. Six new hires. Coaches with new ideas, new schemes, new teaching styles. They have a ton of work to do and got zero spring practices to do any of it. This week, for the first time in the seven months since Texas’ staff shakeup began, defensive coordinator Chris Ash, offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich and the rest of these coaches get to run a practice together. It’s a long-awaited opportunity to get real reps and see just how much this team has learned.

How quickly can the new staff get Texas up to speed? It’s worth pointing out that what they’re trying to pull off here is very uncommon. In the past decade, no Power 5 head coach has hired two new coordinators and won a conference title in the same year. Actually, let’s clarify that. In the past 10 years, there have been four Power 5 teams that won conference titles with a new offensive coordinator and a new defensive coordinator. But in each of those cases, the circumstances were different.

First there was Auburn, who did it in 2013. But that was Gus Malzahn’s first coaching staff, so everyone was new. The Tigers are the ultimate outlier. Florida State did it in 2014, but Jimbo Fisher promoted co-OCs Lawrence Dawsey and Randy Dawson and DC Charles Kelly into coordinator roles. And those guys were coming off winning a national championship together.

Penn State pulled it off in 2016 when James Franklin hired OC Joe Moorhead. But new DC Brent Pry was an internal promotion, a coach who’s been with Franklin since 2011. And then there’s Alabama, whose staff seems to constantly change. The 2018 Crimson Tide did win the SEC with new coordinators, but that was with Mike Locksley and Tosh Lupoi getting promoted into those opportunities. It was the co-coordinators, Josh Gattis and Pete Golding, who were the new hires.

So Texas making outside hires and trying to get all of this change to click in one offseason? Nobody at the Power 5 level has totally figured out how to make it work and win a championship in the past decade. And, well, none of those four conference champs had to overcome a global pandemic along the way.

College football got shut down 10 days before Texas was scheduled to hit the practice field in March. Herman points out the Longhorns were able to accomplish more than you’d think in January and February thanks to the evolving rules for walkthroughs. And they ultimately got more Zoom meeting time this summer than they’d ever need. The X’s-and-O’s teaching is really not the issue here. These Longhorns are now exceedingly well-versed on their new playbooks. The unknowable thing here is how precisely these players will be able to execute in these next few weeks of practices — and how many games it’ll take for them to get rolling.

This won’t be quite as tough for Yurcich, who comes from a relatively similar situation in some ways. He went up to Ohio State in 2019 to serve as passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach, but the Buckeyes already had Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson running their offense. Justin Fields was new, but everything else about the Buckeyes’ offense was pretty well-established. The Texas job is different in the sense that he has much more authority as OC to call plays and run his offense. Still, Yurcich was hired more to upgrade this Longhorn attack than reinvent it. The Sam Ehlinger-led offense might be a lot better, but it won’t be dramatically different.

For Ash, it’s a completely different deal. The ex-Rutgers head coach was brought in for a full rebuild of a unit that ranked eighth in the Big 12 in scoring defense (30.6 points per game) during conference play. New system, new four-man front, new positional roles, new everything. Counting on- and off-field staffers, seven of Texas’ nine defensive coaches are new hires. The good news is the players are buying in.

“I like their style of teaching,” defensive end Joseph Ossai said. “I also think they’re very focused on what they want to do, and they’re just trying to get all of us to jump on board with them and be in the same mindset as them.”

These coaches have done all they can possibly do to teach this defense in Zoom conferences and meetings and walkthroughs. For Ash, though, it has to be challenging to try to successfully install the most fundamental element of his defense — a rugby-style tackling system — without being able to practice in pads and, you know, perform actual tackling. “That side of the ball certainly has been hit harder with the pandemic than the offensive side, for sure,” Herman said.

Ash preached a basic philosophy during his job interview: Be simple but not predictable. He believes wholeheartedly in getting 1,000 reps at one thing, not one rep of 1,000 things. When you keep it simple, players play fast. They can’t when they’re confused. Herman calls his new DC as good of a fundamental coach as he’s ever been around. His shoulder tackling system of hitting ball carriers, taking control and getting them down quickly can make this team much more effective at getting stops in space. He’s trying to build his guys into confident, effective knockback tacklers. But how many practices will that take?

They’ve made progress without pads this summer. Two weeks ago, Ash participated in the Texas High School Coaches Association’s virtual coaching school. He taught a one-hour clinic on his defensive philosophy and tackling methods. Most of the cut-ups he shared came from Rutgers and Ohio State games and practices. But he did throw in a few more recent clips from the Longhorns’ summer workouts.

In one, shirtless Texas defenders wearing shorts, cleats and GPS units worked on their wrap-and-roll technique with an agile bag. Later, he showed his new players repping their sideline tracking and tackling, a non-contact pursuit drill done at game speed. "I don’t believe you have to go 11-on-11 and full-speed 11-on-11 tackling drills all the time to become a good tackling defense,” Ash said as he shared the first Texas clip. “I actually think it’s more important to work on the fundamentals and get things in small, constricted safe situations to work on it.”

Ash called his first six months on the job “wild and crazy” but also a lot of fun. He says this unprecedented offseason made him better, that he learned things about making instruction easier and more accessible for players that he’ll use for the rest of his career. And he shared some advice about the kind of mentality it’s going to take to make the best of things this fall.

Although Ash was speaking to high school coaches, his message is no less apt for a Texas staff preparing to navigate big expectations and whatever comes next.

“Right now, we’re all faced with different challenges. We’re going into some unchartered times, some uncertainty as we move forward. But nobody cares,” Ash said. “In this profession, nobody gives a damn about the challenges we face as coaches. Get those issues and thoughts out of your mind and focus on developing your players. We talk about that all the time.

“Guys, you can waste a lot of time and energy thinking about what about this, what about that, are we gonna play, are we gonna be delayed, are they gonna cancel — none of it matters. It doesn’t matter. Just get your mind on developing your players. You’ve got a job to do. Let’s go do the job.”

 

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7 minutes ago, fellside said:

So what will the one non conference game be?

Farewell to the Fuck Charlie Strong Bowl

 

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I have no idea what the rest of UTEP's schedule will end up looking like but I assume we'll want to move that game up a week or two. 

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