Terrell Cuney had big plans for his senior season at Jasper this year. But after a big, season-opening win, the Bulldogs have suffered two close losses to opponents they were favored to beat.
"The season is definitely not going the way I planned it," Cuney said. "We came off a big win, and we had guys thinking they had done something. Orangefield turned out to be a little better than guys thought. But it's really about us. We haven't been finishing games the way we're supposed to."
Jasper recently had a game canceled because of weather, and — coupled with the team's bye week — the Bulldogs had a break from Sept. 13 until their next game at Bridge City on Oct. 4. Cuney said that bye period came at a good time.
"It's great because it's helping us to work on a lot," Cuney said. "We need to do extra stuff. We need to finish every drill. We're doing a lot of lifting and agility work, and we're getting past some of the early wear and tear that we had. We're working really hard to get back on track and have a good season."
If Jasper does turn its season around, Cuney's leadership will likely be a big reason why. The Texas commitment said he tries to practice like he plays, every rep, to get better.
"I feel like that was part of our problem — we had guys say 'they're not that good' and go through the motions," Cuney said. "We had people thinking we were supposed to beat the snot out of both of those teams, and thinking that it wasn't a big game.
"You have to play like everybody that you're playing is the best, and you have to fight that way all the way through the fourth quarter," Cuney said. "No matter who you're playing, you have to do that."
Cuney said he had a taste of what it was like to go against big-time talent at this summer's Texas camp.
"The main thing was just the quickness you have to play with," Cuney said. "The boys we had come to camp were good, and they were fast. I had to really focus on using my first-step quickness to zone up or to pass protect. Now, I try to apply everything I learned every day at practice and during games."
Cuney was tapped as a U.S. Army All-American, and he said he's looking forward to the challenge of playing against the country's best.
"Oh man, that's going to be a true test, and I look forward to it every day," Cuney said. "That's who I compete with every day, the best in the world. Even when I'm not actually lined up across from one of the best, I'm still thinking about what I have to do to get better to play the best in the world.
"I want to be the best," Cuney said. "So I'm not thinking about my area. I'm thinking about the best I could play at this level and the next. I treat everybody that I play against like they're the best."
Cuney hasn't made his way up to Austin for a game this year, but he plans on going to a couple games in November, including the Kansas game. He said he's been able to catch a couple Texas games on TV.
"I feel like they're headed in the right direction now, after they made some changes," Cuney said. "I watched last Saturday [against Kansas State] and I was fired up."
But when Cuney watches the games, he does so in a way that's different from your average Longhorn fan.
"I watch the player there that's at my position," Cuney said. "The whole time, that's what I'm watching. I try to look and see what he does, and see if he didn't do such and such, knowing that I can do that, and that I can be better. I watch the whole team, but mostly, I'm just focused on my position. I want to see what I can do to be the best."