Kirk Bohls

American-Statesman Staff

Column

Bohls: And now (drumroll, please) here are 32 fearless predictions for Texas’ 2018 season

No crystal ball needed when it comes to Sam Ehlinger's toughness, Caden Sterns' potential and Kris Boyd's star power, but where will the Horns finish?

Posted August 30th, 2018

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On the eve of the college football season, there are more than a few things you can reliably count on when it comes to the Texas Longhorns.

Here are the quick hitters you can take to the bank. They won’t give you anything for them, but you can take them there:

1. Athletic director Chris Del Conte will get indigestion from eating pizza, tacos and sausage wraps on Bevo Boulevard with every fan who shows up on Saturdays. He’ll still wear a tie.

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2. Head coach Tom Herman will offer a pregnant pause — or two — before contemplating his answer to a serious question. He’ll take no questions about Ohio State all season long. He will not celebrate 2018 victories in a strip club. In addition, he and Urban Meyer will not exchange texts or DMs.

Can we arrange a Texas-Ohio State bowl game right now and start selling tickets?

3. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger will run over somebody. Someone will run over Ehlinger. Let’s hope Ehlinger will also get back up. This will be repeated often.

4. Backup Shane Buechele will start three games. Ehlinger will start nine. No idea who will finish them. Buechele will not transfer.

UT wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey (84) flies through the air after hurdling a Baylor player in the second half at McLane Stadium in Waco on Saturday October 28, 2017. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

5. Dynamic wideouts Collin Johnson or Lil’Jordan Humphrey will each have a breakout game that will prompt me to ask why they don’t throw more to Collin Johnson or Lil’Jordan Humphrey. They’ll each command double coverage at times.

6. Humphrey will score at least two touchdowns. On the ground. And eight through the air to go with 920 yards.

7. Texas will start eight different offensive linemen.

8. A Longhorns tight end will catch 15 passes this season. Not sure who, but I’m betting my military draft notice on somebody doing it. Andrew Beck’s a likely choice.

9. This will mark the Longhorns’ best freshman class in at least a decade. At least four true freshmen will start a game and at least a dozen will play, several of them dramatically.

10. Rookie safety Caden Sterns will be the Big 12’s freshman of the year.

11. Linebacker Gary Johnson will star as an All-Big 12 linebacker with 122 tackles.

12. Texas will write sob letters to Michael Dickson, asking him to return.

Texas linebacker Breckyn Hager (60) warms up before the start of the Texas Bowl NCAA college football game against Missouri in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

13. Defensive end Breckyn Hager will be sorely tempted to cut his hair after Texas’ first conference loss, but will be talked off the ledge — or the barber’s chair — Beck. (Hager will show up with a buzz cut at the NFL combine.)

14. Herman will use two field goal kickers, and between freshman Cameron Dicker and senior Joshua Rowland, they will make 18 of 25. Dicker will kick 14 of 19, including a 50-yarder, and Rowland will be 4 of 6.

15. Herman will actually kick a field goal inside the opponent’s 5 instead of going for it.


16. Freshman Keaontay Ingram will be the Longhorns’ leading rusher with 823 yards and seven scores. He will look dynamic and appear to be the long-awaited answer at running back.

The running back committee will convene every Saturday because Herman has no bellcow. I’d look for Daniel Young to be next in line with 589 yards and seven touchdowns with Tre Watson filling in the gaps and adding another 423 yards and four scores. Toneil Carter will lead the backfield in receptions with 21 but also have three fumbles. Young will catch 18 passes, and Kirk Johnson will catch four.

Texas head coach Tom Herman looks down the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Maryland in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, September 2, 2017. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

17. The American-Statesman will write 82 articles on who’s calling the plays.

18. Lake Travis star Garrett Wilson will briefly reconsider his commitment to the Buckeyes but will sign with Ohio State in December.

19. Herman will mention his strength and conditioning coach Yancy McKnight twice in every media session.

20. Del Conte will be allowed to call a play against Kansas.

21. When asked in December how many elite players he has on his roster, Herman, without flinching will say, “A bunch.”

22. Cornerback Kris Boyd will be named All-American.

Here’s what else you can expect, and you can check back before Christmas to see just how wrong these predictions were.

23. Don’t look for the same revolving door at quarterback as we saw last season, but I just can’t see Ehlinger staying upright for all 12 games. I expect the sophomore to slide occasionally, throw for 2,542 yards with 10 interceptions — two returned for touchdowns — and 15 touchdowns and one concussion. He’ll improve his accuracy to 61 percent. He’ll run for six touchdowns. He’ll cut down on his turnover rate and make much smarter decisions.

Buechele will pass for 652 yards and six touchdowns with three picks. Cameron Rising will mop up in four games but keep his four years of eligibility, given the new redshirt rule.

24. Humphrey will star, but Johnson will shine as well and catch 54 balls for 732 yards and six touchdowns. Freshman D’Shawn Jamison will be impressive in the slot as a true freshman and have 18 receptions for 192 yards and two scores. Fellow freshman Joshua Moore will catch 17 balls for 212 yards and a touchdown.

Texas defensive back Kris Boyd (2) takes a selfie with a fan after Texas defeated West Virginia 28-14 in an NCAA college football game in Morgantown, West Virginia, on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

25. The offensive line will stay relatively intact, but three reserves also will make starts.

26. Poona Ford will be heavily missed. Chris Nelson will lead the brigade of replacements, but Ta’Quon Graham will blossom at both end and tackle.

27. Hager will lead all Longhorns with nine sacks and win All-Big 12 honors, followed by defensive end Charles Omenihu’s four sacks.

28. Kris Boyd will push Gary Johnson for Big 12 defensive player of the year honors before both fall short. Boyd will develop into the best cornerback in the league and have four interceptions with 15 pass breakups. By midseason, opponents will figure it out and throw in the other direction.

29. Sterns, B.J. Foster and Anthony Cook will all have solid to spectacular seasons to give the Longhorns the best young secondary in the Big 12 and one of the best in the country as DBU makes a comeback.

30. Todd Orlando will continue to impress and will take a head coaching job at Texas Tech, which will be in the mood for championship defense after so many offensive-minded head coaches, or at East Carolina.

31. Texas will split its two heavyweight clashes with USC and TCU, interrupting the Horned Frogs’ domination of the Longhorns, and rise to 3-1 with a top-15 national ranking before losing steam and falling to Oklahoma, West Virginia and Kansas State and finish 8-4.

32. Pencil the Longhorns in the Camping World Bowl against Virginia Tech.

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