BEVO BEAT Football

Tom Herman: Still plenty for Texas to play for in regular-season finale

Posted November 20th, 2017

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Tom Herman’s final regular-season game-week press conference has come and gone, ahead of Friday’s Texas Tech game.

The highlights:

1. Injury updates: Left guard Patrick Vahe — the only offensive lineman that has started every game this season — is out with a second-degree MCL sprain in his knee. Herman said the hope is to have him back in time for the bowl game. … Nickel back P.J. Locke is questionable, though it sounded more like doubtful, as he continues to deal with an ankle injury. “With P.J., it’s not looking good,” Herman said. “I’d say questionable. He’ll jog around today in practice but didn’t look great moving around yesterday.” … and Herman also said tight end Andrew Beck, a senior, is leaning toward coming back in 2018 for a fifth year. He’s missed this whole season with a knee injury. Herman said it’s Beck’s call whether to come back or not.

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2. Who’ll get the start at quarterback? It’ll be similar to the plan in Morgantown, only reversed — Sam Ehlinger will start and Shane Buechele will get some early work and “we’ll see who’s moving the ball a little bit better.”

There’s no quarterback controversy, Herman said.

“You guys apparently know more about the locker room than I do, but it is really a non-issue with those two guys,” he said. “It’s very similar to Chris Warren. They just want to win, they want to help their team win, and if their team wins and they’re not a part of it? So be it. We won. And if their team wins and they are a part of it? Great. … I suspect because both of them have started multiple games this season that it probably wont even be an issue until training camp next year. We’ve got two games left. I think they both understand that we’re gonna do whatever it takes and play whoever we feel will give us the best chance to win, and we’ll go duke this thing out next spring and fall for who is the full-time starter.”

3. Junior linebacker Gary Johnson was named the Big 12’s co-defensive player of the week today. He had seven tackles, a sack, a critical forced fumble and an important quarterback hurry.

4 Texas’ win over West Virginia was big because it made the Longhorns bowl-eligible without having to worry about a must-win in the this week’s regular-season finale. Herman pointed out the various motivations for this week:

There’s bowl positioning to consider. There are four main bowl scenarios for Texas, depending on how the season ends and whether the Longhorns are a 7-5 or 6-6 team — the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 28, the Camping World Bowl in Orlando on Dec. 28, the Texas Bowl on Dec. 27 or the Liberty Bowl in Memphis on Dec. 30.

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A win Friday would give Texas a winning record at home.

A win would give Texas a winning record during the regular season. That hasn’t happened since 2013.

A win would mean the Longhorns would have won four of their final five games.

A win would be the third straight win to end the season, which hasn’t happened since 2009.

And, of course, it’ll be Senior Night so a win would send Texas’ seniors — guys like Poona Ford, Armanti Foreman, Antwuan Davis, Lorenzo Joe, Dorian Leonard, Jason Hall and Naashon Hughes — off with a win.

“I think the pep in the step is real,” Herman said. “The looks on some of these kids’ faces, especially the older ones in that locker room Saturday after the game, was priceless for a coach, knowing what they’ve been through around here. But they also know again we’re not finishing 6-6. That’s average. We want to make this legacy and the jumping-off point to this new chapter in Texas football better than average.”

Texas and Texas Tech kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday. It’ll be televised on Fox.

The post Tom Herman: Still plenty for Texas to play for in regular-season finale appeared first on Hook ‘Em.

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