Evaluation and player development are key for the Texas football program next season, and specifically for head coach Tom Herman, and Urban Meyer agrees.
In what is a pretty rough time for the Texas football program, there are voices all over the college football national media that are weighing in with their thoughts on the state of things in Austin. Head Texas football coach Tom Herman has to be doing a good job blocking out the outside news at the moment, or else he would be going crazy.
But there are some voices that Texas should consider legitimate that’re coming their way in the media. One of those could be the former Ohio State Buckeyes head coach, and Herman’s former boss, Urban Meyer. Today, Meyer is a college football analyst on Fox Sports. He is one of the better minds to listen in to week-by-week on any TV network airing college football.
Meyer spoke his mind on the state of the Texas program, and how he feels Herman get right the ship from here. He seems to feel as if recruiting is the source of where Texas can find more success, and also where the trouble could be coming from.
Here’s what Meyer had to see on Fox’s “Big Noon Kickoff” on Nov. 30 (thanks to 247Sports).
"And then let’s go back to — I think there’s a perception issue on how you really measure recruiting. And you can see, on the chart right here, Texas has done a great job recruiting. As far as the numbers, they’ve been No. 1 in the Big 12 every year but one and they’re a nationally-recruiting powerhouse. But then look at the next chart — how do you ultimately measure recruiting? There’s only two ways … it’s championships, one, and it’s NFL draft picks. And the one thing you can see on this chart, the NFL draft pick, you’re looking at Alabama and Ohio State, over 40 players drafted. Texas has 13. When we saw that earlier today, I was astonished. And zero Big 12 titles."
This is where Meyer started to dig a bit deeper on the sources of Texas’ problems, and the foundation that recruiting can build.
"So it’s not just recruiting, but recruiting and player development. And that’s where you have to — if you talk about the evaluation period, when you see injuries and you see non-development of players and NFL guys, why is that? And is it assistant coaches? Is it the weight room? Is it the nutrition program? You know you can’t just put this on players. What’s going on when they get there?"
The Texas Longhorns football program closed out their 2019 regular season slate on a high-note by knocking off the Big 12 foe Texas Tech Red Raiders at home on Nov. 29 by the final score of 49-24. That was the complete effort on both sides of the ball that the Longhorns were looking for since the start of Big 12 play.
Even against a team like the Kansas Jayhawks, Herman and his Longhorns weren’t able to get a complete effort on both sides of the ball. Texas has one of the worst wins of the season of any Big 12 team, by only beating head coach Les Miles and the Jayhawks by the final score of 50-48 at home in the friendly confines of Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
What does seem weird is why all these national media pundits are now just jumping into the state of Longhorn football. Things were going wrong much earlier than this, and the win over Texas Tech was actually one of the most encouraging performances of the entire regular season.
That even takes into account the Longhorns nearly beating the LSU Tigers at home earlier this season. We’re talking about the same LSU team that just thoroughly embarrassed the Longhorns in-state rival Texas A&M Aggies in Week 14 by a 43-point margin in Baton Rouge.
All in all, the point that the Longhorns could takeaway here is that player development could be the missing piece of the puzzle. It’s too early to tell if Herman is just not evaluating these players correctly, or if the problem stems deeper than that.
Player development is key, but Herman really only had two full recruiting cycles to date to get his players to campus. He locked down to top three ranked recruiting classes in the nation for the past two cycles, and he could be very well on his way to doing the same for the 2020 signing class. We’ll have to wait and see what happens with this next crop of incoming talent and how the rising class of sophomores and juniors turn out next season.