Longhorns React to Bowl Loss

Depending on what sideline you support will determine how the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl was for you. For Arkansas, it was a great win to end with a winning season. But for Texas, it was a tough loss, one that will sting for quite some time. With that said, Longhorn players and coaches weigh in on the final loss of the 2014 season.

If you were not able to catch the Texas versus Arkansas game in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl, it won’t be hard to realize the gist of what happened. Jump on any of the popular social media outlets and find any number of media, opposing fans and concerned alums weighing in on what could be categorized as the worst bowl loss in the modern era for the Longhorns. 

And while it was an all-around dismal showing for Texas, which lost 31-7 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, the talk of the night was the dismal performance from the offense. In the end, that side of the ball, which has been about as inconsistent as possible, was historically bad.

How bad? 

By the numbers, there were seven first downs and 59 total yards. Yes, that last number is not a typo. It came down to the fact that anything that could go wrong, did. And with that, the Texas team goes into the off season with a losing record in the first year under coach Charlie Strong. From Day 1, Strong has preached about “the process,” “work” and “patience.” And while off of that takes times, we live in a society where perspective is rarely practiced. 

But in the losing effort, Strong, and his players for the most part offered no excuses. In fact, the coach who finished 6-7 in his first season made a few bold statements, but also put the owness on himself for the upcoming challenge.

“We go into the off season and see we have a lot of work to do. We got to get better on offense,” Strong said. “There are no playmakers and you look at the quarterback position and we have to get better on the offensive line. We see it’s a lot of work to be done and it’s a great challenge and I don’t mind it. 

“I don’t mind accepting it.”

With this loss, most will point to the offensive line, still seeking some continuity. But the main focus will be on a position which has not come full circle since the days of Colt McCoy, the quarterback position. After David Ash went down after the opening season win over North Texas, the reins was turned over to Tyrone Swoopes. It has been well documented how things have gone this season with the ups and downs. Most would point more to the downs, especially when on the national stage.

As for what is next for him, well, he offered a simple explanation of what he plans to do.

“We just didn’t execute. At the end of the day, that’s what you got to do,” Swoopes said. “For me, I just have to go home and continue to work.”

When offensive coordinator Shawn Watson offered some comments, much like Strong earlier, there is work to be done. And that work includes developing what is there, plus bringing in new blood into the fold as well. 

“We lost all guys at the beginning of the season, a good group of guys, and we have been trying to make up for it ever since. So we have to go out and recruit at every position,” Watson said. “At the quarterback spot, we need experience, we need competition and we need someone who’s been out on the field.”

“With Ty, the thing that I’ve always enjoyed about him is his honesty. He’s knows he has to improve. He understands he’s far from a finished product.”

That position has been under constant scrutiny since Strong took over, and really long before he even stepped foot in Austin, Texas. And as the team moves forward, that will be one position that will have to be solidified for the team to progress to the heights that it once was.

True, as stated, plenty will have to be worked on going forward. But there are a number of guys who will no longer don the Longhorn uniform. Some of the senior guys were not certain as to where things went wrong on Monday night.

All they know is that it was not right.

“I don’t know what to tell you. It just seemed like no matter what we did: false start penalty here and a dropped ball here. It was like nothing was clicking and nothing was working,” senior wide receiver John Harris said.

Running back Malcolm Brown offered up his thoughts as well, but also added a level of confidence in the program moving forward.

“I’m not sure what went wrong, but I have the utmost confidence in coach Strong and this staff to get things turned around. But for tonight, I’m not too sure what went wrong,” Brown said. “It’s tough (on the loss). Right now I just have to kind of take on the next chapter in my life. But I do hope that I left some type of impression on somebody at the university.”

Now, as the team is looking at each other and asking questions across the board, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. For the players, it’s time to work on getting better and for the coaches, recruiting will be heating up over the next couple of weeks. The Texas coaches have a few recruits they are still trying to reel in, many of which will be critical going forward. 

But one thing is for certain, the way Strong’s first season ended does not sit well with him. And with that, he vowed to right his own ship and owned all that has happened.

“The last two games are so frustrating. For that to happen is an embarrassment to the program. And that should never happen within this program,” Strong said. “We have work to do and we have to get it done.”

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