NCAA

Urban Meyer Rejects Texas; Do Longhorns Have a Plan B for Replacing Tom Herman?

It’s indisputable Tom Herman has heard the chatter for weeks about his future employment as head coach of the Texas Longhorns. Following the team’s home loss against Iowa State, effectively ending the Longhorns’ Big 12 championship hopes, the speculation on Herman’s future intensified with Urban Meyer‘s name consistently popping up as the potential replacement. Now that Meyer has spurned the Longhorns, the question becomes, what next? Do the Longhorns have a plan B?

Tom Herman has been average in Austin

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When Tom Herman arrived in Austin, he brought a big set of expectations with him. Almost through his fourth season with the Texas Longhorns, by any measure, Herman’s tenure has been mediocre at best, and he’s yet to live up to those expectations. 

Since defeating the Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl following the 2018 season, Herman’s Longhorns have posted a 14-8 record through nine games into the 2020 season. His overall record at Texas is a lackluster 31-18. That type of record might be acceptable at some schools, but not at Texas, where success—justifiably or not—is measured in conference and national championships.

To date, Tom Herman’s Texas teams have played in just one Big 12 title game, and they lost to the rival Oklahoma Sooners.  

2020 has presented its own set of challenges for Tom Herman

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The 2020 season, while altogether different because it has been played in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, has not been successful for Tom Herman, despite the Texas Longhorns posting a 6-3 record. The reason is simple—Texas could have easily won all three of those games.

After an early-season loss to TCU due to numerous self-inflicted mistakes, which set an ominous tone, the Longhorns followed it up with a quadruple-overtime loss to the rival Sooners, who entered the Red River Showdown with a 1-2 mark. The final blow came against Iowa State when the Longhorns had a clear path to the Big 12 championship but were out-coached and outplayed by the Cyclones.  

During this past weekend’s Texas-Kansas State broadcast on Fox, analyst Joel Klatt revealed a conversation he had with Herman last week, where the coach openly acknowledged his team hadn’t lived up to expectations and often played to its level of competition. That, by itself, was troubling to hear for Longhorn Nation. To make matters worse, Texas Longhorn players have admitted as much by both their words and actions.  

In addition to quarterback Sam Ehlinger publicly admitting the coaching is partially responsible for the players not living up to their top-level talent, several players, including starting offensive lineman Samuel Cosmi and starting defensive back Caden Sterns opted out of the season with two games remaining. Those decisions are reflective of a program in disarray and without leadership. 

What is plan B now that Urban Meyer rejected Texas?

With problems mounting on and off the field, Tom Herman’s future in Austin has been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks. So much so, there have been numerous reports suggesting Longhorn officials would be making a run at Fox Sports analyst and three-time national champion coach Urban Meyer. 

According to Horns247, Texas officials did just that recently and came up empty. Meyer, who has dealt with medical issues in recent years, rejected the offer. Now the question is, what next? Do the Longhorns continue searching for a second-choice candidate like Iowa State’s Matt Campbell or, do they just ride it out with Herman and hope he can turn things around?

What the future holds in store for Tom Herman and the Texas Longhorns is anyone’s guess. With the season winding down in a matter of days, there should be some type of decision made in the very near future. Until then, there will be a lot of eyes on Texas watching to see what happens.