Fact or Fiction: Tom Herman has Texas moving backward
National recruiting director Mike Farrell and national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney tackle three topics daily and determine whether they believe the statements or not.
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1. Tom Herman has Texas moving backwards.
Farrell’s take: FICTION. While Texas fans are not happy with the 6-4 record, this is still a program that is moving forward under its head coach. However, he will have to make some staff changes to push ahead further.
But I like what I see in recruiting compared to the Charlie Strong era and this roster has more talent that just isn't being coached up. Yes, that's ultimately on the head coach and if it doesn't turn around next season he could be gone, but I'm comparing this version of Texas to Strong's and not Mack Brown's. Some staff changes will help. Herman is still the right hire and I'm not pushing the panic button.
Gorney’s take: FACT. When Texas beat Georgia in the Sugar Bowl to end last season, the hype was that the Longhorns would beat Oklahoma the following year and could possibly be the Big 12 representative in the College Football Playoff. Every Texas fan was giddy.
And now the Longhorns are sitting at a miserable 6-4 after losing at Iowa State, which should never happen, losing at TCU by 10 two weeks before that, which should never happen, almost losing to Kansas, which should never, ever, ever happen and, oh yeah, Oklahoma beat them, too. So did LSU but at least at that point in the season Texas looked like a real national threat.
The best thing that could have ever happened to Herman are the Strong years because fans remember just how bad and ugly it could get. Herman could very well be the answer to make Texas a national player again but the Longhorns are not going in the right direction.
2. It's too late for Trevor Lawrence to make a Heisman run.
Farrell’s take: FACT. While Trevor Lawrence has been amazing since the first half of the Louisville game, Joe Burrow, Justin Fields and Jalen Hurts have too much of a lead for the Clemson quarterback to get back in the mix. He could still get an invite to New York, but barring a complete meltdown it's going to go to either Burrow or Fields with Hurts having an outside shot.
Lawrence's numbers this season, 2,575 yards and 27 touchdowns and eight interceptions, are much like what we expected from him at this stage, but his early struggles have been under such a magnifying glass that he just can't win.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Lawrence has been himself these past few games and by that I mean the best quarterback in college football who has such a live arm and makes amazing throws look easy, but these early-season mishaps and all those interceptions will keep him out of the Heisman debate.
Burrow would probably get my vote right now (he has 11 more TD passes than Lawrence against a much tougher schedule) but Fields has been unbelievable and Hurts has been incredible with 28 passing TDs and 15 rushing scores. Sam Ehlinger’s numbers are even better than Lawrence’s, but the former No. 1 overall prospect is coming on strong. It is just too late.
3. Based on Scott Frost's extension, FSU gave up on Willie Taggart too soon.
Farrell’s take: FICTION. Let's be clear, the Nebraska program was in a different place when Scott Frost was hired compared to what Florida State was when Willie Taggart was hired and the two programs are hard to compare. The Seminoles have won a national title recently and there was a lot of roster talent left from Jimbo Fisher even though he mailed it in his last year there. At Nebraska? Not the same. Frost has come into a tough situation where the program was left barren under Mike Riley and he's doing a different rebuilding job at a school that has a geographic disadvantage. At FSU your are in the midst of a ton of recruiting talent and a down year or two should never happen the way the program has been built up. For Nebraska, it's a longer rebuild and Frost, as beloved alum, is obviously going to get more time to turn it around. Both coaches struggled but Frost has more of a reason.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Frost has been a major disappointment so far at Nebraska and there’s just no two-ways around it. The Huskers’ last win came in a 13-10 win over Northwestern, maybe the worst Power Five team or at least one of the worst, on Oct. 5. Since that win, the Huskers have gotten blown out by Minnesota, lost to Indiana and Purdue and got beaten by Wisconsin this past weekend. Quarterback Adrian Martinez got some preseason Heisman hype and he’s not doing well and it’s just been another bad season in Lincoln.
With all that said, I echo a lot of what Farrell said above and I do believe Frost can make Nebraska a contender in the Big Ten West soon. But the Huskers have to recruit better and Frost has to win a game he wasn’t expected to like Iowa in a couple weeks.