The Orange-White game offers current Longhorns a chance to showcase next year’s team one time before the summer. It also allowed Tom Herman and his staff a chance to host more than 30 of the top prospects in the country.
It’s a delicate balance. The spring game is important. However, the coaches understand other priorities come into play during these showcases. Balancing the job of coach and recruiter is never tougher.
“It’s hard,” said offensive coordinator Tim Beck when asked about juggling his assignments as the defensive mastermind and one of the lead recruiters. “The prospects get to see the fans. As a coach, you’re probably not with them as much as you’d like to be.”
Herman’s staff made it a point to reconnect with Texas greats from the past. The halftime show featured guest performances from the likes of Colt McCoy, Aaron Ross and Michael Huff. This isn’t an accident, and it isn’t only aimed at getting the fans excited.
“This is a great university with great tradition and great players. Why would you not exploit that and sell that to the young athletes and say ‘the Vince Youngs and the Colt McCoys, this you one day?’” Beck asked. “They made that commitment to the University of Texas and became great players and have great lives and they’ll always be welcomed back. I think they are great role models for the young guys.”
The current players also serve a role. Not only do they understand the rigors and stress of the recruiting process. Players are also the pulse of a program.
“I pretty much tell them there will be nothing but success from here on out. Texas is the place to be,” said defensive tackle Poona Ford. “I feel like if you’re committed (early), you should stay committed. If not, take all your visits and ask questions about the football program and the university. The recruiting process is hard and can take a toll on some people during the process. It can be stressful.”
Facilities were a hot topic during the days leading into the spring game. The Longhorns revealed a new locker design. It might seem trivial on the outside, but the current players believe an upgraded locker room will help attract the next batch of stars.
“The facilities help a lot. When I was a freshman coming in, I hadn’t seen too many other facilities but I was blown away when I got here,” said linebacker Naashon Hughes. “As the years go by, it is the same thing that I had. So now, unfortunately, recruits who have seen other facilities might not think Texas has everything. Now, with the upgrades, we’ll have that or better.”
It’s clear the coaching staff is aiming high on the field and in the facility arms race currently taking place in college football.
“Nothing in the nation compares to what we’re putting together here,” Beck said. “Both with the facilities and energy level and enthusiasm to the program. If you’re a fan of Texas and haven’t been in a while, I think you’ll enjoy what you see.”