Highlights from Texas head coach Tom Herman’s weekly press conference on Monday ahead of Saturday’s West Virginia game:
Injury updates: RB Keaontay Ingram, who left Saturday’s win after only two carries, will miss Saturday’s game with a high ankle sprain. Surgery’s not required, Herman said. … WR Brenden Schooler practiced on Monday, and should be able to play this week. … WR Jordan Whittington began running on Monday; Herman pointed to the Kansas game on Nov. 21 as Whittington’s possible return.
State of the Horns: Texas players have today off, for Election Day. Herman’s mood was decidedly more upbeat than it has been in a few weeks. The Horns have won two in a row and are coming off the program’s first win over a top-10 team on the road since 2010. But Herman appeared focused today. “We have immediately moved on to West Virginia,” he said, noting that after Saturday’s win over Oklahoma State, the Horns were able to watch the West Virginia-Kansas State game. The Mountaineers won, 37-10.
“We’re a work in progress,” he said later. “There’s times out there where it feels like we’re plaing with 11 true freshmen in there. In the new system, everything is different. Our guys are learning on the fly as fast as they possibly can, and we’re surviving right now because of the unity, the closeness of this team and its coaching staff. It’s gonna click at some point, to where it clicks earlier than later in certain games.
Later, the Statesman’s Cedric Golden asked Herman what he learned about his team in Stillwater and what concerns he has heading into this week’s game. “I probably didn’t learn a whole lot that I didn’t know. We played really hard; I’m really, really proud of how hard and physical we play. That is the culture around here. That is the expectation that has been set over time.”
His worry spot/areas to improve on: better pass protection; getting Sam Ehlinger to release his throws a bit quicker; keep working on the running game; avoiding “foolish” penalties.
About West Virginia: The Mountaineers have the Big 12’s No. 2-ranked defense (Oklahoma State was No. 1 last week) and are way up there in national defensive rankings — No. 4 in total defense, No. 5 in pass defense, No. 15 in sacks, No. 16 in tackles for loss.
About that running game: With Ingram out, Texas will lean on Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson; Robinson has started the past two games.
About the play-calling: Herman was asked by KLBJ’s Ed Clements about what role he has in the play-calling, working new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich — “It appears on the sideline that you’re really into the sheet with the plays,” Clements noted.
“None. Zero,” Herman answered. “I look at it, and in between series I may give a suggestion or two, but zero when the game is being called. None.”
Clements: “Well, I know you clutch that sheet like a newborn baby sometimes.”
Herman, chuckling: “Well, it’s probably old habits die hard, too.”
The Longhorns ranked 23rd nationally in total offense and are No. 8 in scoring.
Texcetera: Linebacker Juwann Mitchell has 22 tackles over the last two games. … Herman was asked about the video that came out Saturday night of him body surfing in the UT locker room in Stillwater. “It was my first time ever!,” he said. … Herman opened with some get-well wishes to D.W. Rutledge, the former executive director of the Texas High School Coaches Association who’s in a San Antonio hospital after a serious bicycle accident. Rutledge reportedly suffered a collapsed lung, 10 broken ribs, a broken sternum and some broken vertebrae.
Saturday’s game at Royal-Memorial Stadium kicks off at 11 a.m. It’ll be aired on ABC. The Horns are 4-2 overall, 3-2 in the Big 12 — the exact same record as West Virginia. The Horns are 6.5-point favorites.
Other conference games on tap — Kansas at No. 19 Oklahoma (2:30 p.m., ESPN2); Texas Tech at TCU (2:30, Fox Sports 1); No. 14 Oklahoma State at Kansas State (3, Fox); and Baylor at No. 17 Iowa State (6, Fox Sports 1)
Editor’s note: The original version of this story has been edited to correct Saturday’s West Virginia/Texas betting line.
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