Texas coach Tom Herman watches his players practice at the Denius Fields in Austin on April 3, 2018. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Football

Beefed-up Tom Herman feeling more optimistic as Longhorns’ offseason rolls on

Posted May 9th, 2018

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FORT WORTH — Texas coach Tom Herman practices what he preaches. The 42-year-old sports a more chiseled frame these days after spending time in the weight room.

Has he lost any weight? “I haven’t,” Herman said. “It’s just re-proportioned.”

Is that going to change? “Wait ’till the season.”

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Working out every day generates positive synapses in one’s brain. The season doesn’t officially begin for months, but Herman appears to be gaining confidence about what lies ahead.

The Longhorns won their bowl game, snapped a three-year losing streak and had a strong offseason. Herman’s staff crushed recruiting, and outside of a normal sprains and strains, spring football went fine.

“What keeps me up at night is teaching them how to handle adversity because things have been so positive around here and will continue to be throughout the offseason,” Herman said Wednesday at the This is Texas tour stop in Fort Worth. A crowd of about 240 people filled out the Stampede Room at Stockyard Station. 

“At some point, whether it’s in the first game or somewhere we stub our toe in the season, there’s going to be adversity. Can we block out all the noise, all the sky-is-falling people? Can we rally around each other? Just a continual emphasis on building that bunker mentality.”

And the flip side?

“What am I excited about? Definitely the quarterbacks development,” Herman said. “I like our front seven (on defense), I do.” The Horns lose nose guard Poona Ford and linebacker Malik Jefferson, and if the Horns can get similar play up front, “we have a chance to be pretty good.”

Coaches always feel optimistic during the spring caravan. Herman’s even feeling good about the team’s medical status. When summer workouts resume, receiver Montrell Estelle (foot), linebacker Edwin Freeman (triceps) and running back Kirk Johnson (ankle) are the only ones who won’t be cleared, Herman said.

No word on QBs: Herman plans on going into training camp with a wide-open quarterback race. In fact, asked about his quarterbacks, Herman said, “I haven’t thought about it since the end of spring.

“Had our exit meetings with all four quarterbacks and told them the job was still open,” Herman said. “Both veteran quarterbacks improved, and the two young ones exceeded expectations and should make for even more and better competition in August.”

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

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