AUSTIN, Texas — Texas defeated the Baylor Bears 27-16 after dropping back-to-back games to TCU and Oklahoma. The University of Texas leaned on its defense and select big plays from Sam Ehlinger to break the team's two-game losing streak.
Next up, UT will face the highest ranked team in the Big 12 at the moment: Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are ranked No. 6 in the AP poll and have a 4-0 record thus far in 2020. Oklahoma State welcomes Texas after defeating Iowa State, 24-21.
Here’s what Herman said in his Monday press conference about the upcoming matchup against No. 6 Oklahoma State on Halloween:
“Again, I'm really proud of our guys for accomplishing a lot of the things that we had set out to accomplish. Heading into the bye week and to go out there and execute them in a game was important for us and our growth and in our development ... and really happy and proud that we got a opportunity to win at home and thank our fans, both here in the stadium and all across the world. And, you know, stayed relatively healthy. Joseph Ossai being really the only one that we're keeping an eye on. Just kind of knowing who he is, knowing the extent of the injury, which is in layman's terms, an anterior capsule sprain, and he'll be braced up. And our plan is to have him participate if tolerated in practice tomorrow. If if he can't go tomorrow, then I would imagine Wednesday he should be good to go, too. And I would be I would be pretty surprised if we did not see Joseph Ossai play a significant part in this football game on Saturday in Stillwater. So we also know that we've got a huge challenge. We've got to go on the road to a very hostile environment, regardless of fan capacity and to play a very veteran, well-coached team that is playing as good as anybody in our conference right now. And we've got to continue to get better. We are for certain a work in progress. Having again to install a new offense, defense and special teams with no spring ball and no summer training, but we made a lot of strides in that by week leading up to Baylor. And, you know, I expect to to continue on our trajectory north of improvement and development and hopefully give Oklahoma State our best shot. And if we give them our best shot and we don't beat ourselves much like we did not beat ourselves on Saturday against Baylor, then we'll have a chance to get a big time win. And but we know it's going to take everybody playing at the very top of their game because, again, this is an extremely talented team that Coach Gundy has. But maybe the most important part of it is that talent is very experienced. I counted, I think nine out of the eleven starters on defense or juniors or seniors with six of those being redshirt guys. So you're talking about 22, 23-year-old grown men out there playing defense and that have been playing in the same system, been playing together for a long time."
Sam Ehlinger leads team in rushing — Herman's thoughts on the running game
“I don’t think anyone said we don’t want our quarterback to be our leading rusher. I think ... a lot of things can be skewed by statistics. We play three tail backs. So, I think if you combine the tail back position, I would doubt that the quarterback position itself is ahead of the tailback position in terms of total yards and yards per game. So, I don’t think that’s a real fair analysis of the run game … to just say your quarterback is the leading rusher. Well, he’s the only one that has played quarterback and there's been three or four different guys that have carried the football multiple times for us out of the backfield and so ... yo be quite honest with you, I don’t think anyone said we don’t want Sam to be our leading rusher. It’s something that happens. He’s a good runner. Sacks count as rushing yards for a quarterback as well as scrambles, too. I thought we took a big step forward on Saturday against Baylor to have two running backs combine for over 100 yards. I thought it was our best day yet running the football from that position. We have to be a little more consistent. I do like the eight, nine, 12 yard runs. We’ve got to make sure that we can at least squeak out three or four yards. I don’t think there’s any cause for concern and we’re all on the right track in continuing to try and improve the run game.”
Herman on strategy of rotating wide receivers this season
“We’re rotating a lot more this year. Devin Duvernay didn’t come out of the game last year. When you have one guy that is the bell-cow, you’re going to play him a bunch. When you’ve got a bunch of guys that have earned the right to play and nobody has separated themselves in terms of production or ability level, I think the prudent thing to do is to keep them fresh. We want to make sure our guys stay healthy.”
When's the last time you saw your guys bring their A-game?
“We haven’t yet this year. That’s for sure. Probably in all phases … the Alamo Bowl. We’ve got it in us. We’re building towards it for sure. We continue to improve as the season goes on. Defensively, a definite improvement. We certainly took a huge step in the penalty area in terms of not beating ourselves. I think we’re heading toward our A game and I hope we can show up and deliver our A game in Stillwater because we’re going to need it.”
Do you need to get TE Jared Wiley more involved in the offense?
“I don’t think we need to. Unless you’re handing the football to an individual, the ball is going to go where the defense tells you the ball goes. For good fortune for Jared and the tight end position, that has been where the ball goes. At the end of the day, when the ball is snapped they can play whatever coverage that they want to. Jared has been doing a great job for us and is continuing to get better as a blocker. I’m just happy that when the plays are to be made, he made them. He was running wide open on the hash and on a crossing route against Baylor. I don’t know if he did or we did anything to get super open, but he has made the plays when the plays have presented themselves.”
Herman on Texas defensive line and pressure rates
“Do I think [sacks are] a misleading stat? Yes, absolutely. We have affected the quarterback more in our four conference games than in our previous two years combined in my opinion. We’ve batted balls down, we’ve hit the quarterback. In this league, it’s so hard because the ball comes out so fast to get those numbers. We are affecting the quarterback at a much higher rate than we ever have in our tenure here.”
Herman on Oklahoma State's defense
“Chaos up front. They’re going to be in multiple fronts and multiple blitzes. They are bringing free safeties and corners and nickels and strong safeties, but the one theme is man coverage. We’re going to have to beat man coverage. Something we’ve been hit or miss with our wide receivers here in the last few weeks. [We] did not play to our standard in man coverage against Oklahoma. Did a pretty good job against Baylor. Those are going to be the two biggest things from a schematic point. They’re going to definitely outnumber the box.”
Is Texas OC Mike Yurcich’s time at Oklahoma State an overrated advantage?
“Yeah, that is a little bit overrated. I think so. Defensively, he went against coach Knowles for one year. It’s much different … I like said, they’ve got nine of their 11 starters as seniors and juniors. This is a much, much different defense than what Mike faced in practice a few years ago.”
How dangerous is Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders?
“You put him back there with one of the best backs in the country … and that just makes you that much more nervous. Oh by the way, there’s a Biletnikoff finalist at wide receiver lurking around there on the perimeter, too. Very difficult offense to defend against because of Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace. Now you add Spencer Sanders and his true dual-threat capabilities back there. I know Chris Ash will have some sleepless nights this week, for sure.”
Does Oklahoma State look like a complete, championship team?
“Yeah, they do. They’re playing elite defense. Elite not just in our league but in the country. When you have skill position players, like they have. Those are two key ingredients to a championship recipe. They sure do look like it right now.”
How much did the running game improve?
“I think it was just a matter of having the time and having the bye week. We only practiced three days of the week. It was nothing to do about Baylor and everything to do about us … running the football, offensively and stopping the run, defensively. Is it a finished product? Not even close, but we made significant strides that we can go back to the run game.”
Herman on Mike Gundy’s program at Oklahoma State
“I think what coach Gundy has been able to do, which is come into a program, his alma mater, his dream job, if you will, and be given time to necessary to build it his way. Coach Gundy has a very experienced team that his finger prints are all over. He’s got a great system, he’s able to survive coaching turnover. That’s done because the same programs and philosophies are in place year after year after year and he does a great job with it.”
Herman on controlling the pace against Baylor
“We slowed the game down by running the ball more. We allowed our defense to only play 68 gradeable plays. That’s a big difference from the 98 plays against Oklahoma or the 95 against Texas Tech. Any time you play less plays on defense, you’re going to be a better defense.”
Herman on limiting penalties against Baylor
“We’re growing. We had a bye week. Did we wave a magic wand and say no more penalties or say a 'Harry Potter' chant? No, we didn’t. We just got back to work and kept harping on the fundamentally and the discipline. We’re not perfect. We’re a work in progress. Everybody in our family sees the improvement week-by-week.”
Herman on receiver WR Joshua Moore
“We like to call him a twitched up dude. He’s explosive guy. He can stop and start very abruptly. He can contort his body and go get some jump balls. I’m glad he’s playing the way that he’s playing.
Herman on Chris Adimora’s performance at the Spur position
“The spur position is one that we would like to hear his name called more. We’d like a little more production from that position. Teams have done a good job of getting him in some run fits that are uncomfortable for a guy that’s been a corner in high school. Now you’re saying you’ve got to play this pulling guard in the A-gap. You know, ‘You want me to do what?’ Chris Adimora is doing a good job of being productive when his number is called.”
Herman on offensive lineman Derek Kerstetter’s personal foul penalties
“Both. I live by a phrase … once is an anomaly, twice is a coincidence, three times is a pattern. Derek’s got two right now. If he doesn’t learn after the second one, we’re going to have a lot more stern conversations. Right now, it’s a fourth-year captain trying to leave everything he’s got on the field. He knows. This is not something Derek is trying to do. It’s not something Derek is defiant about. They know that there’s no malice there. No lack of discipline. It’s simply a matter of overzealous effort that needs to be curtailed a step or two prior to contact.”
Herman on Texas' depth of running back position
“I do think that we’ve come a long way. It’s been really, really impactful for our offense to rotate those guys in and keep them fresh at that position.”
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