While the season record may not show it, the future looks bright for Texas football due to the amount of young talent and confidence on the roster. Freshman running back Chris Warren is a prime of example of it.
Injuries in the backfield allowed for Warren to get his first career start Thanksgiving night, and his performance nabbed him Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Warren’s confidence was on full display Monday when he predicted the Texas football program will return to the top of college football ranks sometime during his career in Austin.
“Absolutely it will,” he said of the Longhorns return to the elite powerhouse it once was. “It’s Texas. College football needs Texas, just like it needs Ohio State, Michigan and Alabama. It needs those places.
“College football needs Texas and the Big 12 needs Texas. It has TCU and Baylor right now, but when Texas gets good, it’s going to be fun to watch. I know for a fact that we may not be an immediate impact, but we will definitely get that started.”
Having been used countless times over the years, the phrase “It’s Texas” is often perceived as a sense of entitlement. Warren doesn’t intend for it to come off as arrogant, rather a reminder of the history and tradition Texas football holds.
“Texas has history and we need to bring it back to where it used to be,” said Warren. “It’s not a sense of entitlement at all. It’s the history of Texas.
“It’s not just the brand. I just know the people that are going to come to Texas for the brand that Coach Strong strives for and the people who are here currently have the attitude. That combination makes it to where you know Texas will be back.”
Warren’s decision to take his talents to Austin came down to a coin-flip. Torn between Washington and Texas, he had it in his mind that he wanted to be a Longhorn, but allowed the coin to solidify his decision.
After suffering an ankle injury early in the season, Warren took the time to learn the offensive playbook with the hope of getting a chance to show his talents down the road. His chance came Thursday, and ended with 276 rushing yards, four touchdowns and his name in the Longhorns’ record book.
“We’re stepping up. We’re putting new names in the book. That’s what it’s going to take to bring Texas back,” Warren said of breaking Cedric Benson’s freshman single-game rushing record. “You can’t have the same records forever because records are meant to be broken.
“I feel that by the time we are juniors and seniors, we will be a pretty good team. I feel like you will be interviewing more freshmen because they will be out here playing and getting records.
“We’re going to be bringing in all kinds of people because of the success we’re going to have in the future.”
Charlie Strong's second season has not gone the way many Texas fans expected. The Longhorns have shown glimpses of hope, but the low points have somewhat overshadowed any signs of progress in 2015. Getting the right talent on campus will be as important as ever in order for Texas to return to the program Warren is convinced it will be.
But how do you sell recruits on a program coming off of two-straight losing seasons? Warren’s message is simple: It’s not about this year; it’s about the future. And the future is brighter than ever in his eyes.
“Regardless of what we’ve done this year, you have to convince recruits that it’s going to turn around,” he said. “I know there are believers. I know they see potential in the youth of the program. I’m not saying there aren’t good players in the older group, but they see the potential of where they can be.
"It’s really unfortunate for the people who are leaving now, but they can come out of here knowing that Texas will be back.”null