Texas Longhorns Spring Practice Questions
The Texas Longhorns spring practice kicks off on March 7th, and a new era begins under Tom Herman. What are the five things that have to be answered this spring?
Daily 5: Texas Longhorns Spring Practice Questions
5. Can anyone tackle?
Houston’s run defense finished fourth in the nation last season with a lean, mean, aggressive group that managed to attack well and hold up against everyone but Navy. The Cougars lost four games, all when they allowed the four most rushing yards of the year. But only the Midshipmen ran for over 200 yards, while Texas allowed more than two bills five times.
It wasn’t that the Longhorns were awful against the run, but they never seemed able to make a meaningful stop in key moments. The entire defensive front seven returns, and now it has to pop.
4. Is there a No. 1 Receiver?
It’s a good-looking receiving corps that needs a star. Eight of the top nine wide receivers are back, with a few good talents and lots of upside. But there isn’t anyone yet who’ll freak out Big 12 defenses. Six Longhorns caught three touchdown passes, no one caught more, and while that’s not an awful thing to spread the ball around, the attack could use a true go-to guy.
3. Can Shane Buechele step up and be amazing?
Every coach likes his guy, and right now, that might be new recruit Sam Ehlinger. That doesn’t mean Buechele isn’t the starter and leader of the offense, but Ehlinger became Tom Herman’s big get, with the dual-threat skills to run the offense exactly like he wants it.
Buechele doesn’t have a lock on the gig, and he’ll have to be terrific this spring or it’ll be an interesting fall fight to see who can run the loaded team. The picks have to slow down, the big plays have to pick up, and Buechele has to calmly and cooly show off the experience of going through the wars last year.
2. Can Chris Warren be the main man?
Warren made a national splash at the end of the 2015 season with a 276-yard, four score day against Texas Tech, and followed it up with 106 yards against Baylor. And then D’Onta Foreman stepped up in 2017 to have one of the great seasons in Texas history, while Warren missed the last eight games after getting hurt.
However, Warren cranked out two 100-yard games and a 95-yarder in his four appearances, averaging 5.9 yards per carry. Herman is putting it out there that his big back needs to be one of the key parts of the offense, if not own it, saying the 6-2, 250-pounder has to “run over people” and get physical, which leads to …
1. Will Tom Herman’s team really be a lean, mean, fighting machine?
Every new head coach since the beginning of time says – in one way, shape or form – his team has to 1) get in better shape and 2) has to get tougher. So of course, Herman is saying the same thing, as if Charlie Strong let his guys get all soft and mushy over the last few years, But in this case, there’s a method to the rhetoric.
Herman wants a lighter, quicker, more athletic team that can attack on both sides of the ball. That means the big, bulky defensive linemen have to slim down a bit, and that means more flash to go along with Warren and the power game on the other side.
Check back on April 15th to see who’s still standing.