After skipping last week’s regular media availability on Monday because of Texas’ off week, head coach Tom Herman was back at the podium today.
Not surprisingly, Sam Ehlinger’s sprained shoulder was the big topic.
Ehlinger is “on schedule” to play at Oklahoma State on Saturday with his sprained shoulder, Herman said. At practice Sunday, he was out there “doing everything with the run game — all the handoffs and run-game checks and reads and all of that.”
Herman said Texas is “being very cautious” with how they accelerate his throwing; on Sunday, Ehlinger threw 10 throws with a Nerf ball and 15 with a regular football, and he’s scheduled for 25 full-padded throws on Tuesday, and maybe then ratcheted up to 50.
A normal day for Ehglinger, Herman said, would be 75-80 throws during a practice.
“There’s a protocol for overhead throwers with AC sprains that we want to make sure that we adhere to as aggressively as possible while making sure we don’t have any major setbacks that could be lingering,” Herman said.
Ehlinger’s game status won’t begin to be sorted out until Thursday, Herman said.
“If he’s healthy and he’s himself, then certainly he’ll start,” Herman said.
What factors will go into the decision?
Said Herman: “Arm strength, definitely. We’ll be able to measure his strength based on a lot of the equipment we have. The velocity on the football, certainly. And then I think for us, it’s also going to be the naked eye — what does his motion look like, does it look like he’s babying throws, does it look like he’s altering the way he used to be throwing? But we will have the different kinds of things that give us some raw data on where he’s at. But ultimately it’s going to be does it hurt him too much to be effective and in order for it not to hurt, is he changing the way he throws to the detriment of the offense.”
TE Andrew Beck has strep throat. He missed Sunday’s practice but should be back on Tuesday. … LB Jeffrey McCulloch will practice on Tuesday; he’s dealing with a strained neck stemming from a recent car accident he was in. … and CB Josh Thompson suffered a hyper-extended knee last week in practice but is expected to practice in limited form on Tuesday.
Other highlights from Herman:
On Keontay Ingram’s carry count (he had 19 against Baylor), and whether he can be a “20-carry guy for this team”: “I don’t know. What did he get, 19 carries last week so we’re one off. He is a 20-carry guy. I’m sorry, he’s a 19-carry guy. We’ve got to be careful also, this is a guy that got here in June and he’s played a lot of football. A lot of wear and tear on his body already having won all the state championships he won in Carthage and being the workhorse for them, too. We’re definitely cognizant of the long-term effect throughout the season. We’re going to use him as much as we need to to win the game. We feel great with Tre as well as Danny; we feel like we’ve got three guys at any given time can do what we need to do to win. But if we’ve got to hand him the ball 22 times to win, then we’ll hand it to him 22 times. You’ll see a very measured approach to his workload throughout the season. We’re going to need him in the postseason too; I think you’ll see the big jump from a physical development once Yancy gets his hands on him for nine months.”
On what he perceives to be the biggest threat about Oklahoma State. Surprisingly, it was defense that came up first, not offense: “They’ve got a guy who I think is seventh in the country in sacks, so they cause a lot of disruption on defense. … There’s a lot of stuff on defense that you’ll have to be prepared for. And then Justice Hill. This guy’s a stud, as good as there is in our conference. … And then, probably third, Stillwater, Okla. in that stadium at 7 p.m. in a blackout on ABC, that’s certainly an advantage for them as well.”
On how much they’re paying attention to the polls: “No. Never. Zero. I mean, literally zero. It is completely and utterly inconsequential where we’re ranked through seven games of the season. The only thing that matters is what hardware have we taken home and where are we ranked at the end of the season.”
On the resurgence of defensive end Charles Omenihu, who has 21 tackles, 8 TFL, 6 sacks and is second in the Big 12 in sacks: “It’s a win-win-win-win-win for everybody. He had an opportunity, another year of training with coach Mcknight and Oscar Giles and Todd Orlando. He’s having a great year. I think it helps certainly the season that he’s having and hopefully the success that he’ll have and help our team have, as well as then the success he’ll have in April (the NFL draft) and beyond will help some of our young guys understand the value of coming back your senior year and getting your degree.”
Herman was asked whether coaches spent any time during the off week with self-examination to identify problems, disturbing trends to fix, etc. He said on offense, it’s getting more movement up front from the line; on defense, it’s improving on third downs.
Saturday’s Texas-Oklahoma game kicks off at 7 p.m. in Stillwater. The Longhorns are 3-point favorites. The last five matchups with the Cowboys:
2013: Oklahoma State, 38-13 (Austin)
2014: Texas, 28-7 (Stillwater)
2015: Oklahoma State, 30-27 (Austin)
2016: Oklahoma State, 49-31 (Stillwater)
2017: Oklahoma State, 13-10 in overtime (Austin)
Texas is 8-2 all-time in Stillwater.
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