Tom Herman’s game-week press conference ahead of Saturday’s Texas-San Jose State game has come and gone.
1. Shane Buechele is dealing with a bruised throwing shoulder. He’s not sure when it happened on Saturday, but coaches believe they found it on film. It occurred as he was hit after throwing to get rid of the ball. Doctors say the best thing for him is rest. He won’t practice on Tuesday, so freshman backup Sam Ehlinger will get all the first-team reps with Jerrod Heard splitting time between quarterback and receiver drills.
Buechele will be evaluated throughout the week.
2. There was no running away from the loss to Maryland. Herman owned it, he says his players own it and he made it clear that while they can’t let that loss linger in the locker room, the Longhorns need to learn from the lessons of the loss.
3. He pushed back on questions that were critical of the offensive line and secondary.
4. He acknowledged that the Longhorns need to establish the run — the running backs had only 14 carries — but did point out that Maryland was stacking the line of scrimmage to stop the run and that once Texas got behind in the second quarter, it became more prudent to throw, not run.
5. Expect to see more Kendall Moore, the graduate transfer tight end from Syracuse, against San Jose State. Herman said Moore is the team’s best blocking tight end and that they’ll try to run behind him.
On the mood of the team: Coming in yesterday, this was a really, really somber place for most of the day. And it should be. I’d be really worried if guys weren’t really sad and upset and hurt, and they were. We came out and we practiced last night and put the Maryland game to rest. Certainly not the lessons we learned, but put the game to rest and prepare for San Jose.
On whether there’s a little or a lot that needs to be fixed: We’ve got a saying in this program: We ain’t changing. We’re not gonna be too stubborn to not realize when change is necessary, but I don’t think that when you’re selling a vision, selling a culture, selling a way of doing things, the first hiccup is not to panic. … It’s not to fire players from their spots on the depth chart. They’ve gotta learn and we’ve gotta teach. We know our way works, we’ve just gotta do a better job of teaching it and the players have gotta do a better job of taking that teaching to the game field. We’re in this for the long haul. There’s gonna be some bumps along the way.
On whether Ehlinger is ready to start on Saturday, if needed: Shane’s our starting quarterback, so if he can play, he’s gonna play. If he can play and not to the detriment of this team, he’s gonna do that. Is Sam ready? No, not right now. But he will be. He’s close. He’s as close as any true freshman I’ve ever been around. Him getting these reps this week, he’ll respond. He’ll be ready.
On where the offensive line, which was “manhandled” by Maryland, needs to improve: Manhandle wouldn’t be the adjective I would use, but I think we only handed the ball to our running backs 14 times. We’ve gotta do a better job of establishing the run game. … Only one or two of the sacks were really offensive line breakdowns. I feel certainly not great, but we’ve got a long way to go and the entire teams needs to improve. But to single out those two position groups would be a bit … rash.
On whether there’s a lack of faith in the running game and whether he’s scared that this is a fragile team: Fragile mentally, certainly. Not fragile physically, if that’s what you mean. No way. Our guys are in very, very, very good condition. … Defense and circumstances in the game dictated that (the 14 carries) more than any kind of faith we have in the run game. Being a balanced offense, which is what we want to be, doesn’t mean we want to run the ball 40 times and throw it 40 times.
On whether he was feeling any internal pressure to win: No. Credit to Mike Perrin and Greg Fenves. I feel very confident that those two men — my bosses — have complete confidence in us and the way we’re doing things here and have a very clear understanding this is a marathon, not a sprint. … But knowing those two guys are with me along this journey certainly allows me to not feel any extra internal pressure or angst or anything like that. We want to win but we also want to develop a championship program here that’s built for the long run.
Herman spoke for a few minutes longer than he did last Monday.
This will be the first meeting between Texas and San Jose State. Texas (0-1) opened its season Saturday with a 51-41 upset loss to Maryland. San Jose State (1-1) opened with a home loss to Charlie Strong’s South Florida Bulls but bounced Cal Poly last week 34-13.
Kickoff at Royal-Memorial Stadium is at 2:30 p.m. It’ll be aired on the Longhorn Network.
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