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The Texas Longhorns: A Greek Tragedy

Like Odysseus trying to return to Ithaca, the Longhorn’s journey back to the top of college football has been wandering and full of tests. What’s holding them back now?

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Head coach Tom Herman of the Texas Longhorns walks the sidelines - Getty Images - John Weast
Getty Images - John Weast

Opening Monologue to set the scene

The saying, “They’ve got a chip on their shoulder”, or “they bring an extra intensity with that chip on their shoulder” comes from those who hear the nay-sayers and have the drive and competitive spirit to prove them wrong. It’s something to overcome.

To ignore it is to be complacent. To say you’re not letting outside noise in, or pretend it doesn’t exist, or couldn’t possibly affect you, is to have the hubris of a Greek god.

Tom Herman is the head coach of an elite Power 5 program, yet is he competitive enough to take in all the noise, all the anger, all that disappointment around the program and look into the mirror and say, “I’ll do everything in my power to prove them wrong”?

Or, is he Odysseus trapped on Calypso; too in love with his own self to see what is truly holding the Longhorns back?

Jason’s Golden Fleece or An Achilles Heel?

That’s the competitive spirit we’re seeing out of this Longhorns team. As Julius said in ‘Remember the Titans’, “Attitude reflect leadership, captain”.

It sure does Julius. The attitude of this Texas Longhorns team is damn near identical, it’s reflective of their leadership from the top. Is the outside noise your Golden Fleece, Coach Herman? Where you’ll wear it, let it shine in your attitude and motivate you and your team to unleash havoc on your opponents and show the nation and the naysayers your authority in the college football world? Or is it the Achilles heel? Where if you let it in, the arrow will strike, and the god will die?

The Odyssey

In what has been an epic poem of listless wandering and tests under coach Herman, the latest omen comes as the Longhorns are sitting at No. 22 heading into the Red River Showdown to face an unranked Sooners team. Under Coach Tom Herman, the Longhorns have a FBS high of six losses as an AP ranked team versus an unranked opponent since 2017.

However, the team still seems unfazed by it because the skipper says to not let the water in the boat.

Not only are you playing an unranked opponent, it’s your biggest rival and the Sooners are favored to win, and why not? I don’t know why I’m even indirectly speaking to the Longhorns, I don’t write for Yahoo! News, and apparently they’re tone deaf if it comes to anything that isn’t “go team” rhetoric. But Keep on tuning it out. You can keep on failing. You can keep on coming up short and continue the complacency.

Siren’s Song

It’s hard to be honest with ourselves. It’s hard to resist the appeal of believing it’s not our fault, we’re just getting unlucky.

Like injuries, for example. I see a lot being brought up about Ayodele Adeoye’s injury and how impactful it will be. More times than not, box score junkies are annoyingly incorrect. However, in this case, that junkie would be correct in saying it isn’t as impactful as the reaction has been. Adeoye is a linebacker who’s had 2 solo tackles, 3 assisted, for a total of 5 tackles. Which three of those came against TCU on Saturday.

Injuries are not this team’s issue, it’s the leadership, the coaching, the game plans and adjustments, or lack thereof. But keep telling yourself it’s the injuries as the Sirens draw you out listlessly into the void.

In closing, this season cannot and will not turn around unless the leadership changes. “Attitude reflect leadership, Captain”. You better start letting the noise in or your siren’s song shut it all out, will lead your boat into the rocks to be destroyed . You can’t believe it’s the end yet, but a decision does have to be made. Are you going to let the noise in to be your Golden Fleece or be your Achilles heel?

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