Texas’ Orange-White spring game: Five key plays

Posted April 16th, 2017


There were plenty of snaps taken in Texas’ Orange-White spring game on Saturday. Here are five that stood out:

1. Buechele to Johnson, year two

Signees from Texas’ 2016 recruiting class, quarterback Shane Buechele and receiver Collin Johnson developed a connection during the latter part of last season. Over Texas’ final four games, Johnson hauled in 15 receptions and three touchdown passes from Buechele. On Saturday, they collaborated on two more.


The second of those touchdowns covered 29 yards. After beating cornerback Eric Cuffee on his vertical route, Johnson leapt for a Buechele offering and controlled the football as he fell into the end zone.

That 29-yard hook-up came during a two-minute drill that saw an offense full of presumed contributors move 70 yards in six plays. Later in the afternoon, Buechele led Texas to a field goal during another late-game exercise. Last year, the Texas offense scored during the first or second half’s final two minutes in eight of its 12 games.

Texas Longhorns (30) Toneil Carter fights for yardage against (27) Donovan Duvernay during the Orange and white spring football game at the Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday, April 15, 2017 RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

2. Close, but no Carter

Five of the program’s six scholarship running backs were sidelined by injuries for the spring game. That left Toneil Carter, an early enrollee from Houston’s Langham Creek High, to do most of the heavy lifting.

Carter was bailed out of a fumble by the referees, but his day did consist of 60 yards on 10 attempts. Carter almost busted off a 58-yard touchdown run in the first half, but he was tripped up by the last line of defense. Instead, the run was merely an impressive 16-yard gain.

Texas gave nearly a third of its 31 rushing attempts to Carter, who also had two receptions. Walk-ons Tim Yoder (five rushes for 18 yards) and Trenton Hafley (four rushes for six yards) also received playing time.

3. On the board

Only a few months removed from an early graduation at Westlake High, quarterback Sam Ehlinger struggled against Texas’ first-string defense. Ehlinger completed 10 of his 31 attempts, but he still had his moments. In fact, the day’s last touchdown was Ehlinger’s 35-yard strike to Lil’Jordan Humphrey.

Humphrey’s catch was a thing of beauty. The rising sophomore fought off tight coverage from cornerback Kris Boyd  and maintained possession despite a hit from safety DeShon Elliott.

This was not Ehlinger and Humphrey’s first-ever appearance on the same football field. Ehlinger’s 2014 debut at Westlake was made during a 17-14 loss to Humphrey’s Southlake Carroll Dragons. Ehlinger and Humphrey swapped results the following season.

4. Nice pick

Saturday’s scrimmage featured only one turnover, which was recorded by cornerback Chris Brown. A redshirt this past fall, Brown made a good read on a second-half pass that Buechele was intending for Armanti Foreman. In addition to his interception, Brown was one of five Longhorns with at least five tackles.

Texas is coming off a season in which it intercepted 10 passes. That placed the Longhorns in a 13-way tie for 68th among FBS teams.

5. Stuff and stop (the scrimmage)

Texas coach Tom Herman swore this wasn’t planned, but a tie game existed at the end of the spring game. Herman told reporters that “We don’t have ties in this program,” so the football was placed at the 2-yard-line. The first-string offense and defense were then sent onto the field.

On the scrimmage-ending snap, Carter was handed the football. The newcomer found little running room, though. The defense came away with the short-yardage stop and spring-game win.

On Saturday, Orange (aka the Texas defense) posted a 52-51 win over White (aka the Texas offense). Those two teams will join forces on September 2 when Maryland arrives at Royal-Memorial Stadium.