Football

Tom Herman, Texas ready for USC: ‘We’re in a really, really good place. A really good place.’

Safety Brandon Jones has recovered from knee injury, will play vs. USC; Running back Keaontay Ingram is doubtful

Posted September 13th, 2018

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The Sunday after the season-opening loss to Maryland, “It was like a funeral home around our building,” Texas coach Tom Herman said.

Less than two weeks later, there’s a bounce in everyone’s step heading into Saturday’s game against No. 22 USC at Royal-Memorial Stadium.

Texas (1-1) rebounded with a win over Tulsa. Herman said the coaches had no problem getting players juiced up for this week’s matchup with the Trojans (1-1). A team that tensed up after halftime last Saturday appears loose and ready, Herman indicated.

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“We’re in a really, really good place. A really good place,” Herman said after Thursday’s practice. “The guys have let their hair down collectively. Practice is work. The fun is on Saturdays. Practice is not supposed to be a whole lot of fun. Practice is intense preparation so that when you jog out that tunnel, you’re confident you can go perform.

“Yeah, they’ve been great. Nothing to worry about.”

This game has been sold out for weeks. More than 100,000 fans are expected for a game that will be broadcast nationally on Fox. The Horns are hosting five recruits on official visits and “40 to 50 top guys” at the stadium on unofficial visits, Herman said. On unofficial visits, recruits pay their own way.

“I want our recruits to see what we are evolving into,” Herman said. “We are certainly not a finished product by any stretch. But see what gameday is like.”

Jones will play: Safety Brandon Jones (ankle) has practiced well the last two days and will play against USC. Jones had 10 tackles against Maryland and averaged 18.7 yards on three punt returns.

Texas Longhorns defensive back Brandon Jones (19) is forced out of bounds against Maryland Terrapins in the NCAA college football game, at FedEx Field, in Landover, Md., on Saturday, Sept. 1 , 2018. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

“He was a little sore last night, but he looked great in practice today,” Herman said. “If he’s not in class or sleeping in his bed, he’s been in the facility getting treatment and had two really good practices.”

Herman said freshman linebacker Ayodele Adeoye, who missed the first two games with a knee injury, will make his debut on Saturday. The Horns were already thin at linebacker and need all the help they can get.

But Herman also said running back Keaontay Ingram (knee) is highly doubtful. Center Zach Shackelford (foot) is out. His return is unclear. Herman said he hopes that receiver John Burt and DeMarvion Overshown can return in another week’s time.

More tests on Hudson: Offensive lineman Patrick Hudson underwent a biopsy on his kidneys so doctors could learn more about the heat-related illness he suffered. Those results are due back on Monday, Herman said.

“He won’t do anything until he doctors have a pretty good idea what was going on and why something like that would happen,” Herman said.

Herman indicated that Hudson could return to the field sometime this season, although when remains unclear.

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

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