The Texas Longhorns had a two-season window to take down Oklahoma and regain dominance in the Big 12 Conference. In 2019, Oklahoma brought in a new defensive coordinator, and went back to the well in the transfer portal to pick up the much-maligned Jalen Hurts at quarterback. For two-straight seasons, Texas faced a newcomer to the Red River Showdown at quarterback, and both had their low moments, but still led their teams on key drives to win their respective games. This year, Oklahoma is starting a freshman quarterback in Spencer Rattler and had a bunch of turnover at key positions in a shortened offseason. Yet Oklahoma has managed to not only beat the Longhorns in both seasons, but control the game at the line of scrimmage (this year without their two best defensive linemen). UT’s All-America caliber edge rusher Joseph Ossai was held in check by a freshman left tackle and the Sooners beat them up with their third and fifth-best running backs to the tune of over 200 rushing yards.
All around, Texas was thoroughly embarrassed in the 2020 edition of this game and in 2019 they were outgained by 201 yards. If 2019 and 2020 aren’t Texas’ years to beat Oklahoma, well when is it going to be, Tom Herman?
Magic City Tom has likely overstayed his welcome in Austin. The folks south of the Red River don’t take kindly to being beaten up and down I-35. Herman is now 1-4 against Lincoln Riley and the Sooners and a resolution to that problem looks pretty bleak in the near future. Oklahoma’s defense is continuing to improve under Alex Grinch. Spencer Rattler will not be a newcomer next year and Oklahoma should return just about everyone on their current roster, plus get back several studs who opted out, were lost to injury or were suspended to start this year.
To play devil’s advocate, you can certainly point out that Tom Herman made two home run hires in the offseason bringing in Chris Ash to be his defensive coordinator and Mike Yurcich as his offensive coordinator. These men are highly-respected coaches in the college football world and they also had only this crazy offseason to install their schemes and get their players ready. 2020 has certainly made things hard on everyone, and harder for others, like the Red River schools, but Texas brought back Sam Ehlinger, an experienced quarterback who was deemed Preseason First-Team All-Big 12, and a Heisman candidate. Ehlinger certainly has not disappointed with his play, but doesn’t that make this worse?
What is Texas going to do to overcome OU? Sure, they do not get blown out by OU, but they have lost 9 of 12. Is it just out recruit them? According to 247Sports, they already do. Is it wait until you have the experience edge? They have tried that for the last two years. This rivalry is becoming much like “The Game”. Ohio State wins every year, and sometimes there are some exciting games, but the Buckeyes win. The Sooners are letting it be known why the river runs red. Perhaps the reality is there is no closing the gap, unlike Michigan who simply cannot out recruit Ohio State, Texas always out recruits OU. The margin may simply be that Riley is superior to Herman, and no amount of five star players will make that difference.
Texas must start developing their players, and perhaps that starts with finding a better coach.
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