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Can a platelet injection into Shane Buechele’s ankle cure the Texas offense?

Posted October 2nd, 2017

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Lab coats and stethoscopes are mandatory this week. The Texas offense will take a scientific turn as quarterback Shane Buechele will have what’s known as a “PRP shot” on his injured ankle.

Platelet-rich plasma injections were used in the early 1990s in plastic surgery procedures. Essentially, doctors pull a tube of blood, spin it until there’s a concentration of platelets and then inject it back into the patient. It’s hailed as a more natural way of healing soft tissue injuries.

“He won’t be 100 percent, but a quarterback with an ankle probably doesn’t need to be 100 percent to be serviceable,” UT coach Tom Herman said.

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Unfortunately, this dynamic procedure cannot be used to inject new life into the Longhorns offense. It may take a little weird science to shake Texas (2-2, 1-0 Big 12) out of its funk before facing Kansas State (3-1, 1-0).

Texas coach Tom Herman said freshman running back  Toneil Carter will receive more playing time Saturday versus Kansas State. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman)

Texas is averaging 34.5 points per game, which on paper looks like the highest total since 2012. That figure includes cornerback Holton Hill’s three non-offensive scores, Reggie Hemphill-Mapps’ punt return against Maryland and DeShon Elliott’s pick-six against USC.

To win at this level, teams usually must score 35 or 40 points or more on a weekly basis. That’s exactly why former coach Charlie Strong went out and hired Sterlin Gilbert prior to last season. Texas needed to score more points. The Horns averaged 31.9 last season — the highest total of Strong’s three seasons — and still went 5-7.

The main difference is that Herman appears to have solved the team’s defensive problems, a serious bugaboo for his predecessor. Coordinator Todd Orlando’s unit is allowing 21.3 points per game and, if not for a shanked punt against Iowa State, may have posted two shutouts.

On Monday, Herman said he was sticking with Buechele, who is 6-8 as a starter, and did not appear to even be considering a small package for freshman Sam Ehlinger. The coach said he’s hesitant to play both since they’re the only scholarship quarterbacks on his roster.

Jerrod Heard did not get any quarterback snaps against Iowa State because he suffered a gashed hand injury in practice that required 19 stitches, Herman said.

“Do I feel good? Yeah,” Herman said. “We’ve got to get better. Shane’s got to get better. Sam’s got to get better. We’ve got to get better everywhere, especially on offense. But we feel like you can win with either one of those guys at quarterback.”

Herman did admit the coaching staff is going “back to the drawing board a little bit” in other areas.

As for the offensive line, Herman praised freshman Derek Kerstetter and said backup Denzel Okafor needed to improve. It was announced that injured left tackle Connor Williams will have a non-surgical treatment on his injured medial collateral ligament. It’s still unclear if Williams will return this season.

“You’ve got to change your expectations a little bit,” Herman said about the unit. “There’s nobody that’s slept less and pulled more hair out than (offensive line coach) Derek Warehime at this point.”

Monday was the first time Herman backed off complimenting his two main running backs, Chris Warren III and Kyle Porter. “We’re not making very many people miss,” he said. “If it’s blocked for four (yards), we’re going to make four.”

Asked about freshman Toneil Carter, Herman said, “Yeah, you’ll see Toneil play more. He’ll play more this week, too.”

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Typically, offensive coordinators would crow about getting the ball to 11 different receivers, like UT did against Iowa State. But that means limited opportunities for receivers like Collin Johnson. The 6-6 standout had just two catches for 27 yards and was a non-factor against the Cyclones.

“He does need to get some touches,” Herman said. “We were trying to manufacture them, and we couldn’t him him when we tried ’em. One of my projects this week is to figure out how to get him the football.”

Kerstetter and Carter aren’t the only newcomers who will play throughout October. Texas could utilize freshman tight end Cade Brewer more. He caught a critical 3-yard touchdown pass in overtime against USC. “Every time we put him out there, he’s done well. So let’s play him more,” Herman said.

Orlando needed time to see what his defensive players could do. The same holds true for offensive coordinator Tim Beck and the offensive staff. “We’re still getting to know a lot of these players and what they can do when the lights are on,” Herman said.

Coach Bill Snyder’s Wildcats historically play smart football and chew up a lot of clock. Herman famously refused to watch UT game film from last season, but he knew the Horns got only 62 offensive snaps in a 24-21 loss at Manhattan.

Texas may not get many opportunities against K-State, so best to inject some life into this unit when you can, platelets and all.

“I feel like we’re headed down the right path in terms of personnel and formations,” Herman said. “We’ve got to do a much better job of coaching our guys and adjust to different things that you don’t plan for.”

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com.

The post Can a platelet injection into Shane Buechele’s ankle cure the Texas offense? appeared first on Hook ‘Em.

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