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Tom Herman Responds To 'Horns Down' Controversy

Tom Herman doing the "Hook 'Em Horns" while singing Texas' school song "The Eyes of Texas" after a game.

AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 02: Head coach Tom Herman of the Texas Longhorns sings The Eyes of Texas following a loss to the Maryland Terrapins at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 2, 2017 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Tomorrow, we have a rematch between Oklahoma and Texas football for the Big 12 Championship. Over the last few weeks, the "Horns Down" hand gesture popularized by Oklahoma players has come under scrutiny.

It was the West Virginia Mountaineers, and not the Sooners, at the center of the latest flare up, after WVU players threw up the "Horns Down" very liberally during their win over the Longhorns.

Obviously OU-Texas is always heated, with the two sides trading barbs in the last week. Texas won the regular season Red River Rivalry game 45-42, which is OU's lone loss of the season.

Ahead of the Oklahoma-Texas Big 12 Championship, the league decided that "Horns Down" could be called as a taunting penalty. Tom Herman has since been asked about it.

The league has since walked things back a bit, saying that it depends on the context. Still, it seems like the Big 12 is really overblowing the entire situation.

From KOCO:

“With the Big 12 Championship on the line, a new mandate has come down for the Sooners: The ‘horns down’ hand symbol will draw a flag.

University of Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley had asked the Big 12 for clarification after West Virginia was flagged twice in a game earlier this month. He heard back and said that they cannot do it.”

Tom Herman was asked about the decision, and while he made it known that he doesn't like "Horns Down," he played down any insinuation that Texas may be behind the Big 12's ruling.

From 247Sports:

“We’ve been disrespected for as long as that hand signal has been around,” Herman said following Thursday’s practice ahead of the game at AT&T Stadium.

“We’re kinda used to it.”

Regardless of whether or not the Sooners perform the gesture, Herman expects the Longhorns to conduct themselves in a professional manner while playing for the program’s first conference championship since 2009.

“We handled ourselves with class, many, many, many times when we were faced with opportunities when other teams weren’t handling themselves with class,” Herman said.

Herman also said he wasn't aware that it had become a controversy that the Big 12 had weighed in on until recently, and that it isn't a major concern of the Longhorns.

“I didn’t even know until late in the day,” Herman said of when he learned of the ‘Horns down’ controversy. “I didn’t even know we were wearing orange until today, so it’s irrelevant.”

To make matters even more silly, league commissioner Bob Bowlsby had to clarify that even "Horns Up" could be deemed a taunt and penalized in certain situations.

Basically the entire rest of the Big 12 has railed against the clarification, but hopefully it doesn't become a huge deal going forward.

And if Oklahoma is out to a pretty safe lead late in the game, it is hard to imagine that we won't see a whole bunch of "Horns Down" in Arlington on Saturday.