Spring football can be a grind, even for the most die-hard college football fans.
It starts during the height of March Madness and encompasses some of the most exciting sports weeks of the year. Not only that, but almost the entire exercise happens behind closed doors.
Luckily, dedicated reporters like the ones at Hookem.com are here every day to bring you the latest on the Longhorns. So if you’re cramming before the spring game, trying to make sure you remember everybody’s number and who’s still around, you came to the right place.
Sizing up a new squad
Before spring practice even started, Brian Davis took a look through the depth chart at some of the storylines to watch. We learned that John Burt is back to hurdling more than just defenders, that the Longhorns made big gains in the weight room, and that they have “guys that want to be here.”
Week 1: Jersey numbers and ‘Juice’
Sam Ehlinger took the first snap of the spring seen by media (whatever that means) and the newcomers debuted their jersey numbers. Brian Davis wrote after the first practice that UT’s defensive line had gotten visibly bigger, and Tom Herman seemed impressed by both of the new quarterbacks.
Two days later, we heard from Jerrod Heard for the first time in 2018. “I’m old as hell,” he said. It had been even longer since we’d heard from Andrew Beck. Both seniors have big plans for their final go-around.
Also, this happened.
— Texas Football (@TexasFootball) March 23, 2018
Week 2: Fumbles and lightning
If there is one thing Herman hates seeing from his teams, it is fumbles. Butterfingers drove him nuts in the fourth practice of the spring, which was a rain-soaked affair. We also got our first glimpse of the “lightning” package that defensive coordinator Todd Orlando found success with in 2017.
Injuries also started to rear their ugly head in Week 2, with starting linebacker Gary Johnson picking up a groin strain. He wasn’t the only one. Edwin Freeman, Kyle Porter, Mikey Grandy and Jordan Pouncey were also out for varying amounts of time.
Week 3: Chaos in the backfield
Another year, another slew of running back injuries and a quarterback quandary for Herman. Both of those issues showed up big in Week 3 of spring practice, with Tristian Houston joining Porter on the bench. This time, it was a knee, and Herman had to consider some alternative options in the backfield.
Herman continued fielding questions about the competition between Ehlinger and Shane Buechele at quarterback, and offensive coordinator Tim Beck chimed in. Perhaps more interestingly, Beck spoke for the first time about Herman taking over play-calling duties in the Texas Bowl.
Week 4: Legacy leaders
The first big news of Week 4 was that Freeman (triceps) had surgery which will hold him out of the spring game. The two main storylines of the week were a pair of Longhorns making names for themselves despite playing in the over-sized shadows of their fathers.
Collin Johnson and Breckyn Hager spoke about their hopes and expectations for 2018.
Elsewhere, safety P.J. Locke III suffered a neck injury while Porter and Patrick Hudson returned to practice. We also had our eyes on Malcolm Roach and Elijah Rodriguez (links above).
Week 5: Final preparations
With the spring game fast approaching, Herman assessed his team’s performance earlier this week. He revealed plenty about who impressed him throughout the past month and what areas still need improvement. Here’s your primer:
News on Bevo Beat is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of Hookem.com is included with an Austin American-Statesman subscription in addition to Statesman.com and the ePaper edition. Subscribe today at statesman.com/subscribe.