Texas is moving on from USC, focused on TCU

Texas TEAM SHOP
The Horns D ate its fill against USC, but Texas wants to keep feasting against visiting No. 17 TCU this week. (Photo by Don Bender)

From USC to another acronym coming to challenge Texas — No. 17 TCU — which has owned the Horns in recent years

By Steve Habel, Senior Contributing Writer

Texas’ victory over Southern California last Saturday was scintillating, and a long time coming for a Longhorns fan base hungry for continued success.

Everyone wants more, yet standing in the way of that happening is this week’s battle with No. 17 TCU.

Horns head coach Tom Herman and his staff and team have already put that big win in the rear-view mirror and turned their attention to the large truck driving directly toward them.

The Horned Frogs head to Austin for Saturday afternoon’s Big 12 season-opening clash coming off a 40-28 loss to No. 4 Ohio State last week in Dallas. Meaning TCU will be looking to continue their recent success against Texas to stay in the Top 25, and keep the Horns out. Texas did not make the Top 25 in either the AP or Coaches' Poll released Monday.

Herman, meeting with assembled media on Monday for his regular weekly availability, said the focus now is to make sure the Longhorns aren’t strutting too much or reveling in the back-slaps and acclaim of the Texas fan base in lieu of properly preparing for TCU.

“We told our guys that the only peoples’ opinions who should matter when it comes to the game of football are the people in our room -- your teammates and your coaches,” Herman said. “[We were] basically pleading with them, pleading with the leaders to school the young guys up."

Finding a Filter to the TCU Talk

Texas has lost to TCU the past four seasons by an average of 30 points and had not scored more than 10 points in any of those games. Since Mack Brown left as Texas coach after the 2013 season the Longhorns have beaten every Big 12 team at least once ... except the Horned Frogs.

“In this family you can be bombarded with outside messages that have no impact on our preparation for TCU," Herman said."So, it was a big point of the emphasis throughout the day yesterday, making sure that the opinions of the people in that locker room and in those coaches' offices are the only ones that we worry about.”

The Texas head coach lauded his defense for its play against the Trojans and said its goal line-stand midway in the second quarter in the provided the team energy to continue a 34-point unanswered offensive explosion that decided the game and instilled trust in his players.

At the urging of Longhorn defensive coordinator Todd Orlando, Texas rolled the dice that USC would go for the touchdown on fourth down rather than try a chip shot field goal, in essence baiting the Trojans into giving up a sure three points.

“I made sure that our defense knew when we met yesterday in our team meeting, that coach Orlando looked me in the eye and said, ‘Put the ball on the 1 and let 'em go for it,’ because he had the faith that the defense would make that play,” Herman said. “It was neat to see the looks in their eyes when they realized that this coaching staff and myself has a tremendous amount of belief in them. The light bulb went off.

USC’s Stephen Carr tried to sweep around right end but was stopped, emphatically, by Texas safety Brandon Jones at the 3-yard line, turning the ball over on downs.

“Now, again, that's not to say that some great epiphany is going to carry us into the wild blue yonder,” Herman said, “but it was a step in the building of our program in terms of proving again that we believe in them and we trust them, and they can trust us.”

Horns LB Honored and More from Monday

An injury report heading into the TCU game.

Linebacker Malcom Roach suffered a broken foot in the second quarter of the win over Southern California, will have surgery this week and miss six to eight weeks. Roach, the junior from Baton Rouge who goes at 6-foot-3 and 280 pounds, had eight tackles, one of them solo, over Texas’ first three games.

“We will have to plug in not only and makeup for Roach’s production and play on the field but his leadership as well,” Herman said.

Freshman running back Keaontay Ingram, who is nursing a sore knee, is questionable for TCU. “He had a good day running straight ahead during Sunday’s practice,” Herman said. “We will know more tomorrow.”

Starting center Zach Shackelford (foot) is considered doubtful to play against TCU. “He’s still having some pain but he's going to try,” the coach explained. “What that means I don't know yet. If we had to play today he certainly could not play.”

Freshman linebacker DeMarvion Overshown (knee) is coming on but is probably a week or two away while wide receiver John Burt (foot) will participate in drills and be evaluated during the week for his availability for TCU. Freshman wide receiver Brennan Eagles is doubtful with a hamstring issue.

Honors for Horns Johnson

Longhorns’ senior LB Gary Johnson was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against USC. It is the second time in his career that Johnson has earned the weekly honor.

A native of Douglas, Ala., Johnson registered six tackles, four for loss, a sack, a forced fumble and a quarterback hurry. His four tackles for loss were the most in a game by a Longhorn defender since the 2014 season. Since 2010, there have only been six others with at least four TFL in a game.

Texas had a total of 10 tackles for loss in its first two games of the year, but double that number and a little more (10 ½) against USC.

Steve Habel

Steve Habel is a senior contributing writer for Horns Illustrated. He has covered Texas sports since 1989 and was this magazine’s senior editor for 24 years. You can follow him on twitter @stevehabel .

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