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Starting QB up in the air for improving Texas

(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

(TSX / STATS) -- AUSTIN, Texas -- After watching the video of Texas' 40-34 overtime win over Kansas State last week, Longhorns coach Tom Herman said he is excited about where the program is heading, especially in light of how his team beat the Wildcats and has improved through the first five games.

Texas (3-2, 2-0 Big 12) will take a lot of momentum and good measure of swagger into this Saturday's Red River Rivalry game in Dallas versus No. 12 Oklahoma (4-1, 1-1 in Big 12), and those feeling were earned by battling toe-to-toe with one of the nation's most physical and disciplined teams.

"We not a finished product yet -- I'm not sure we will ever be this season," Herman said Monday at his weekly media availability.

"To play a team of that caliber as well as we did was impressive. We found a way to win and I like the demeanor and attitude our players showed on the sideline and the locker room."

Herman played coy when asked if freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who passed for 380 yards and rushed for 107 in the win over Kansas State, had done enough to be considered the starter this week and moving forward. Shane Buechele, who started at quarterback in the Iowa State game on Sept. 28, is battling a sprained ankle and missed the Kansas State contest.

"Funny, I knew I was going to get asked that question," Herman said.

"I don't think we're ready to make that decision until we see how healthy Shane is. If Shane shows up to practice tomorrow and is running around and throwing balls and is balanced and on point, then we'll evaluate it at that point.

"Again, it doesn't do me any good to tell you (who the starting quarterback will be), even if I did know, because I kind of like having Oklahoma have to prepare for (both of them). So I doubt if you're going to hear anything from me throughout the course of the week -- but you guys can keep asking."

An optimist would say that Texas has found its stride and might be the best two-loss team in the nation. The opposite tact would point out that the Longhorns are vulnerable against teams with dual-threat quarterbacks, have continual breakdowns in the secondary, can't run the ball consistently and have a kicker that makes less than half his chances.

Where that leaves Texas heading into its biggest rivalry game is the biggest question of the week.

"I understand that this is one of the most important games and most storied rivalries in college football," Herman said.

"But it's also important for your team to know that the formula for success is not going to change and the process won't change depending on the opponent, the location of the game or where which state the opponent is from.

"The recipe for success is just like the past games -- to prepare really, really hard and then when the ball is kicked off, to let it loose and trust your preparation and the abilities and preparation of the players beside you."

Updated October 9, 2017

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