5 Questions: Texas publisher William Wilkerson provides the inside scoop on the Longhorns prior to their Thanksgiving mathcup against Texas Tech.

1. From afar it seems like Texas has had one crazy roller coaster of a season. What's the tenor of the team heading into Thursday's matchup?

Right now it's all about getting these seniors to a bowl game. They senior class has gone through more than their fair share of ups and down - mainly downs - so everyone in the program is just trying to somehow get them to a bowl game. Obviously sitting a 4-6 right now means that UT will have to win out [play at Baylor next week], though there is an outside chance Texas could go to a bowl at 5-7. 

But, I must say, this was one pissed off and defeated team after their loss at West Virginia, which kept them winless in true road games this season. There is definitely a sense of frustration in the program right now. Jerrod Heard hasn't progressed like many thought he would. Jay Norvell isn't pleasing the masses with his offensive play-calling. Johnathan Gray hasn't had the breakout season many thought he would. UT's safety play has been pretty brutal this season. Texas has had trouble stopping the run. Should I continue? I mean this has just been a brutal season for UT. But, one thing remains the same, they love Charlie Strong. 

2. How has quarterback Jerrod Heard performed this season? Is he progressing?

He hasn't been nearly what people thought he was going to be. It's not all his fault. I don't think Jay Norvell has helped him out as much as he could with the play-calling, not taking deep shots down field more often, etc. But Heard has to be held accountable for sure. There are a bunch of small things that he just hasn't gotten used to yet at this level, like throwing the ball away instead of taking a sack, staying in the pocket long enough to let routes develop, etc. He needs to get better at that for sure. But the belief is the team believes in him enough to get the job done. 

3.Charlie Strong's name is thrown into most open coaching spots around the country. Is there a legit chance he leaves UT after the season?

No. I don't see it happening. Interim AD Mike Perrin spoke on this topic last week and gave Strong his full support. New UT President Greg Fenves fully supports Strong and so do his players and most big money donors. The people that matter to him keeping his job are in his corner. I think he sees growth within the program despite the record. He'll be back at Texas next season, no doubt. 

4. What's the latest on running back D'Onta Foreman? Do you expect him to play Thursday?

It's not looking good for Foreman right now. He had surgery to repair an injured pinky last week and Charlie Strong sounded doubtful on Monday that he'd be able to play. Don't forget that Johnathan Gray is injured too. He's dealing with a toe injury so Texas could have to rely on two true freshmen running backs, Chris Warren and Kirk Johnson, to tote the rock on Thursday They've combined for 100 yards this season. 

5. Most Tech fans pretty good about the matchup except for the history and because Tech hasn't won in Austin since 1997 most are skeptical of the Red Raiders' chances. Is there a flip side to that? Does UT expect a win Thursday due to the one-sided history?

They certainly feel confident in their abilities to win the game but I don't think it has anything to do with the history of this "rivalry." They understand what type of challenge TTU's offense is going to be and, while Tech's defense has struggled this season, UT isn't exactly clicking on all cylinders offensively. They definitely aren't over-looking Tech.
The Longhorns are going to try to control the game on the ground. They feel confident in the abilities of these young RBs to do that. It should be noted that UT will probably be without starting RG Patrick Vahe [knee]. Defensively, Texas starts two true freshmen cornerbacks. They are going to have to play the games of their young careers for UT to win this one. Jakeem Grant is the obvious focal point for Vance Bedford's defense. 

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