Most of us will never speak at our own funerals. Then again, most of us will never coach at Texas, either.
Just like Texas made Charlie Strong coach a game after losing to Kansas in 2016, Texas is making Tom Herman dangle from a thread as he continues to perform the duties as the Longhorns’ football coach.
Herman has continually touted the praise and support he’s received from Chris Del Conte, which, to date, has always happened in private. Herman also said he still has a standing offer from his athletics director to hop on the phone with any recruit who happens to have questions about Herman’s future in Austin. (We’re led to believe this has not actually happened in real life, but the offer still stands.)
Of course, the most telling part of Del Conte’s support of Herman is that Herman has to tell us about it. Del Conte could speak up on his head coach’s behalf at any point, but that hasn’t happened and is unlikely to happen following Friday’s 23-20 loss to Iowa State that all but doomed any chances of Texas reaching the Big 12 Championship.
Asked directly about his future at Texas on Monday, Herman said this:
“I am absolutely and completely focused on getting our team ready to beat Kansas State and I’m not worried about anything other than that.”
You can tell this Kansas State game is a big one because Herman received a grand total of zero questions about the relative strengths or weaknesses of the Wildcats. So big is this game that two team captains have already opted out to prepare for the NFL draft.
As for what Texas still has to play for in this 11th straight season without a Big 12 title, Herman said, “We’re fighting for some really good bowl games. We’re fighting for a really, really good record. We’re fighting for an opportunity to give these seniors four straight winning seasons and hopefully four straight bowl wins as well.”
It goes without saying that most projections have Texas playing in the Texas Bowl, and an 8-3 finish, while representing the second best season since 2010, would also stand as the worst season in the 11-year period preceding that.
Look, we all know college football is a big business and Herman is paid very well to be in the position he’s in, but you had to feel for him on Monday. In conducting that press conference, Herman was essentially giving a sales presentation with his back to a burning building, wondering why everyone was so concerned with all the smoke.