ARLINGTON, Texas — Tom Herman was the final Big 12 coach Tuesday to visit the podium at Big 12 Media Days in Arlington.
Expectations are sky high for his Longhorns heading into 2019, as they are coming off of a 10-4 season in which Texas finished as the Big 12 runner-up and beat Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.
Herman praised the leaders on his offense, namely quarterback Sam Ehlinger and center Zach Shackleford, who is a Belton native, for the way they've led the offense.
"We're proud to have [Shackleford]," Herman said. "We think he is as good a center as there is in the country. He's brilliant when it comes to making the calls. The center is kind of the quarterback of the offensive line and he's really the glue that holds that group together."
The bar has been raised, according to Herman, to win conference and national championships. He said it took coaches at elite programs, including Mack Brown, seven years to win their first title.
"I'm not saying we're setting the bar at seven years, though," Herman added.
Coming off an impressive win over Georgia in New Orleans, with the bow of Ehlinger's famous postgame comment "We're back," Texas was picked second in the Big 12 Preseason Media Poll, behind rival Oklahoma.
All signs from Herman's press conference in Arlington point toward it being a breakout year for the Longhorns, with his expectation to be in contention for the College Football Playoff spot reserved for Oklahoma the past couple seasons.
"We have enough players at a championship caliber that if we play as well as we can, we can compete for a championship, certainly," Herman said
And the results seen in just his second season on the 40 acres have helped in building the foundation for what he's confident will be a championship program clad in burnt orange and nestled in downtown Austin.
"For this past season to have those tangible results, to be able to beat your rival at the Cotton Bowl and have the Golden Hat in Austin for the year, and to win a New Year's Six bowl game, it makes the ability for a young man to buy in much easier, for sure," Herman said.
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