Texas football: Herman: Pass defense is 'fixable'
While Texas played admirably and gained respect on the national stage in a 45-38 loss to LSU, there are no moral victories on the Forty Acres, and Tom Herman certainly isn't claiming one.
The Longhorns couldn't slow down Joe Burrow and the LSU passing game in the second half of their 45-38 defeat as the LSU quarterback threw for 471 yards and four touchdowns.
While a ton of credit has to go to Burrow - who looked like a sudden Heisman contender - one can't help but take a look at a Longhorns pass defense that is loaded with five-star talent on the back end.
We gotta do better, though," Herman said during his Monday press conference. "We're going to face really good receivers and really good quarterbacks in this league."
Still, he doesn't lay all the blame at the feet of the secondary, hinting a little that the team may have gone to the blitz well a few too many times against a seemingly-unshakable Burrow.
"I think we're all assuming it was the secondary's fault that people were open," Herman said. "That's not a fair assumption until you know what each coverage call was and who's responsibility that is. We've got to get better everywhere on that side of the ball, including us as coaches. If that means we've got to dial back a little bit, so be it."
The Longhorns knew going into the game they had a question mark at one of the corner spots with D’Shawn Jamison, Anthony Cook and Kobe Boyce all trying to claim a starting spot, but more concerning than that is the big plays that came against Jalen Green. Green was the team's best corner through spring and fall camp by far.
It's a process that won't likely be remedied overnight.
"We've got to get a lot of things fixed (at corner)," Herman said. "We've got to make some improvement there, and the first part of your question, yeah, they will continue to have competition and we will see who, if anybody separates that other corner spot."
Herman also addressed his team's tackling, which at times wasn't great and allowed LSU to turn some medium-yardage plays into large chunks.
"You're going to miss tackles against elite athletes," Herman said. "As long as we're running to the football -- you're always going to get better at tackling, so yes, it is a concern, but nobody that has ever played defense has never missed a tackle. So you're going to miss tackles, but are your other ten guys running with their hair on fire to get there to have your back, and I did see that on Saturday night."
So it's not exactly back to the drawing board for Texas, but it is an excellent gauge for where the team stands right now in the grand scheme of things - at the doorstep of being a national title contender, but not quite yet over the threshold.
Unfortunately for the Longhorns they can only play forward on their schedule. They won't get another crack at a top 10 team until October, but must handle business between now and then. That starts with a game against Rice this Saturday at NRG Stadium.