After a heartbreaking 53-45 loss on Saturday to rival Oklahoma in four overtimes, the Texas Longhorns fall out of the Top 25 rankings for the first time this season. The questions for Longhorns' faithful have turned from "Is Texas back?" to "Is Head Coach Tom Herman the right coach?"
Saturday, the Longhorns looked like the same undisciplined team that fans saw two weeks ago against Texas Christian University and voice their displeasure of the program on Twitter.
Charlie Strong was fired from Texas after three years, going 1-2 against Oklahoma. Tom Herman, in Year 4 at Texas,… https://t.co/Cz9J3Fm3Jd— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB)1602362961.0
Does Herman have a buyout if he's fired for cause? Like cause he sucks and cause we want him gone? Asking for a few million friends.— Eric T (@Eric T)1602432387.0
At Herman's weekly press conference on Monday, the head coach was questioned about a fan base that has seen a Longhorn program come up short back-to-back years, along with the impression of rejecting tradition by some players not participating in the "Eyes of Texas" song.
"We thank (the fans) for their support," Herman said. "We understand that at the University of Texas they've got tremendously high expectations, and I can assure you that our players are working there ever-living you-know-what off to achieve those very high standards and expectations; I can assure you that our guys hold themselves to the highest of standards."
The Longhorns tripped over themselves from opening kick to the last Sooner score on Saturday. Texas racked up 10 penalties, had a punt and field goal attempt blocked, and saw senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger throw two interceptions and junior running back Keaontay Ingram fumble the ball away.
Less than two years ago, Herman was riding high after a win against the Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl, and now he's getting ranked in the top 10 of coaching hot seats. There is already a GoFundMe page dedicated to raising the money to buy out the coach's contract.
Texas fans are pounding the table for Urban Meyer. Tom Herman is on the books for $6 million in 2021, $6.5 million… https://t.co/Nfywf45MzU— Anwar Richardson (@Anwar Richardson)1601818094.0
Herman cited that the Longhorns are still playing with effort and that even though the outcomes aren't what they hoped for so early into the season, that the team that went to New Orleans and won the Sugar Bowl against Georgia also had lost back to back games that season.
Herman shouldn't, and most likely can't, get fired now. Even for the University of Texas, $20 million is a bit steep of a price to pay someone to not show up for work. It is just another example, however, of the time it takes to build a program. In Ehlinger's final Red River Rivalry game, the quarterback will finish with similar stats as Longhorns greats like Colt McCoy and Vince Young, but will also finish with a 1-4 record against Texas' biggest (and only) true rival.
Herman is at a crossroads. With an unranked Texas team having a bye week this Saturday before playing Baylor at home, this is the time for Herman to return to the motivator that he was back at the University of Houston and go back to the creativity you can use when you have a dynamic playmaker like Ehlinger on your team.
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With a taste of MLS play under their belts, Austin FC is entering the second half of a scoreless inaugural match.
The club has been given some generous breaks from No. 2 LAFC, who had one or both of their star DPs out for the half. While forward Diego Rossi is out for the entire match due to a hamstring injury, Carlos Vela was accidentally pulled too soon on what turned out to be a miscommunication.
He gave us the sign that he needed to come off," LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said on broadcast. "I can't say more than maybe it's my fault."
The two breaks aside, Austin FC has been holding their own against the match favorites. In the signature style of head coach Josh Wolff, the team has been quick and intense, nearly connecting on several fast breaks. ATXFC has also kept about equal possession with LAFC, although their shot attempts haven't been quite as nervewracking as the home team's.
LAFC has given goalkeeper Brad Stuver some scares with 11 shot attempts, four of them on goal. By contrast, Austin FC has had five shots on goal.
LA has pulled some dramatics and slowly gained more possession throughout the half, but ATXFC's defense isn't as shaky as it seemed in preseason. Jhohan Romana has pulled his weight in getting the ball out of goal, and defensive midfielder Alex Ring has shown the qualities that make him captain as he leads his teammates through their first ever match.
Will Austin FC win against the odds? t's tough to tell, but Austonia will keep you updated!
It's matchday! Austin FC—Austin's first major league sport team—kicks off its debut season in Los Angeles today after years in the making. We know how much this means to our beloved city and are taking you along with us as we journey to LA!
Austin FC writer Claire Partain and I are excited to bring you game-day coverage straight from the City of Angels. Check back here for updates, and visit our socials: @austonianews for the latest.
5 p.m: Kickoff!
It's finally here! Claire will be updating Austonia's Twitter account live. And we'll post her game recap after the game. Best of luck Verdes!
4:40 p.m: Excitement radiates back home
Watch parties are in plenty supply back home. Austonia's Laura Figi visited Circle Brewing Co. and found a crowd of excited supporters.
4:20 p.m: Austin FC supporters are in the stadium
Although the Banc of California Stadium is hosting the match at limited capacity, we see some green in the stands ahead of kickoff. Just moments away from the Austin FC's debut!
~3:20 p.m: Austin FC's team bus enters the stadium grounds
With a warm welcome from Los Verdes, Austin FC players were welcomed into the Banc of California Stadium.
~1 p.m: Los Verdes in LA
(Rigo Rodriguez/Los Verdes)
Austin FC supporters are making their presence known in LA, including the Los Verdes group.
Los Verdes members started having match-day fun around the area this morning with brunch. We'll be joining them about an hour before the game outside the stadium to share some of their excitement. We'll post immediately to Austonia's Instagram.
11:45 a.m: We landed!
View from hotel room where we're staying; the stadium digital sign can be seen in the right corner. (Sonia Garcia/Austonia)
Switching over to pacific time, we're here and it's almost like no time went by. It's 9:45 a.m. here.
We've been in contact with Los Verdes, an Austin FC supporter group, who is also here in LA counting down to kickoff.
8:20 a.m: LA bound
Like many of you, we've been looking forward to this moment for, let's just say, a very long time. Today, we woke up bright and early, headed to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and hopped on a flight to LA.
A gloomy day in Austin with a very quiet airport, we're headed to sunny skies in California.
As we wait for the game to start at 4:30 p.m., check out Claire's preview of the game with a predicted lineup and timeline of the long journey to get here.