Tom Herman, freshly shaven and dripping with sweat, didn’t proclaim success or failure after Texas’ first practice on Monday. With 28 practices remaining and more than a month before the season opener, the Longhorns have a long way to go.
“Nothing really statement-wise,” Herman said after the workout ended about 10:30 a.m., long before Mother Nature really turned up the heat. It was 106 degrees in Austin on Sunday. “Nobody impressed, nobody disappointed in shorts.”
And nobody’s worried about Maryland at the moment, either. Herman said he won’t name a starting quarterback until mid-August, most likely two weeks before the Terps arrive on Sept. 2.
“I hadn’t watched a snap of Maryland film, and I won’t,” the first-year coach said. “It does nothing other than you get more nervous than you probably already are.
“The first three weeks of training camp are about developing your team’s identity and instilling a culture,” Herman added. “We’ll worry about winning a game down the road. Other than an off- week, you don’t even work ahead, so we won’t worry about Maryland or San Jose (State) until the weeks we play them.”
Graybeards will be aghast to learn the NCAA now outlaws two-a-day workouts. To give schools extra time, the start date was pushed back into late July. Teams are allowed 29 preseason workouts. It’s up to the coach to make it all work.
“I think, though, if we’re going to stick with this model, then kids reporting on July 30, that’s a little crazy to me,” Herman said. “It think we should nationally cut practices down to 26 or 25. Not only does it alter our scheduling, but it alters our summer training program.”
Only two Longhorns were not on the field. Transfer defensive tackle Jamari Chisholm and freshman receiver Damion Miller were both still finishing up summer academic work.
Herman did say running back Kirk Johnson practiced, which was good news in and of itself. However, he was unable to finish the workout due to a new hamstring issue. Johnson missed last season with a torn knee ligament. Whether or not he will contribute this season is unclear.
“He’s a guy, he’s battling. He loves football,” Herman said of Johnson. “To see him out there today was encouraging. We’ll see how the thing progresses, but he’s done everything we’ve asked him to.”
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