Tom Herman didn’t shy away from the fact that Texas hasn’t been winning enough this decade. It’s why he wears burnt orange to work now, after all.
“Since the class of 2018, these 16-year-old kids that we’re recruiting — since they were 10 years old, they’ve seen two winning Texas football seasons. Two. And they’ve seen four losing Texas football seasons,” he said at Big 12 media days Tuesday. “So the Texas that they know is a lot different than the Texas that people in my generation know.”
Amid the optimism Texas has enjoyed since Herman’s arrival, every positive comment has been tempered with the same rebuttal, “Yeah, but these are still the same players that lost to Kansas.”
So how does Herman teach his players to win? How do you not lose to Kansas if losing is what you know?
“It’s nothing different than what we’ve done everywhere we’ve been and that’s to compete every day in what we do and make sure there are tangible rewards for winning whatever that competition is,” he said. “We talk about how we have the student of the week, and that guy gets recognized. We’ve got t-shirts and all that. Everything from off-season conditioning drills, where we have winners and losers, and the winners get to eat a better meal and not the losers.
“I think losing has to be awful, and you can never get used to losing. That is one of the biggest downfalls of a lot of teams is that you get used to losing. No, losing is awful. It’s awful. It’s not just, oh, well, we’ll get them next week. No, this is like the sky-is-falling-type stuff. And so every time we have a competitive situation, we’re going to make sure that the people don’t win in that competitive situation, that they feel awful about it and that it’s not funny and it’s not hokey or corny, and it’s really, really bad for them to lose, as well as being very, very cool for the guys that win and very rewarding for the guys that win. Because that’s what happens on Saturday and that’s what happens throughout the season.”
As an aside, Herman seems like the type of guy that would be an absolute pain in the neck to be around during a losing season. So if winning in and of itself isn’t a big enough motivator for Texas’s players, there’s that, too.