BEVO BEAT Football

Tom Herman: It’s time to trust those defensive backs signed the last two years

Posted September 30th, 2019

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Tom Herman’s West Virginia game-week press conference has come and gone.

 

What you need to know

1. Injury updates: Nickel back B.J. Foster is back. He practiced on Sunday and Herman labeled him as “probable.” … Wide receiver Collin Johnson and safety DeMarvion Overshown hope to practice on Tuesday. And Jordan Whittington has just started resuming running. “I don’t know that this weekend is out of the question, but we’re certainly not expecting him to be cleared for this one.”

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2. When we last saw the Horns in action, it was a long night for Jake Smith and Brandon Jones on punt returns. There were two fumbles and another near fumble. Herman said both will still be back there on Saturday, fielding kicks. He blamed technique for Smith’s issues and blamed himself for Jones’, saying he should have reminded the senior before the play that it would’ve been just fine to let that punt bounce.

 

The three best questions Herman got today

1. With all those defensive back injuries, Herman was asked if the Horns were taking a hold-the-fort approach to get through these next few weeks, relying on the last two recruiting classes that have included some highly-rated DBs.

Herman agreed with the premise of the question, if not the wording.

“I don’t know if it’s a hold-the-fort mentality,” he said. “We’ve got Chris Brown and we’ve got Brandon Jones; both those guys in the first four weeks were definitely our two biggest playmakers. D’Shawn Jamison had worked his way into a quasi-starter at the other corner. So we’re going to miss those guys for the length of time that they’re out — Caden (Sterns), Josh (Thompson) and Jalen (Green) — but we’re pretty confident with the guys that we will be rolling out there this Saturday and and the weeks coming forward.”

2. With the bye week in the rear view, the Statesman’s Brian Davis asked what about this team does Herman KNOW it can do week in and week out, and what is he still not sure about.

“I know we can stop the run,” he said. “I know that our quarterback is as good as there is in the country at managing the game and getting us into good plays and out of bad plays. I’d like to see us defend the pass a little better, whether that be in man or zone. Some consistency in the run game; we’ve had back-to-back weeks where we felt pretty good about it, so I think we’re headed in the right direction there.”

3. What type of impact can Keondre Coburn have on this season if he can replicate what he did against Oklahoma State?

“You go from Ed Oliver to Poona Ford to Chris Nelson, those are three really, really good players, and now Keondre. I don’t know what it does for opposing play-callers, but I love the way the kid comes to work every day. He’s got two speeds: Full and Off. When he’s on the practice field or the game field, he’s Full.”

Bonus moment: It’s Sam Ehlinger’s birthday today. He’s 21. “Your quarterback turns 21 today. Have you given Sam any advice about turning 21, and what did you do on your 21st birthday?” asked local radio personality Ed Clements.

“It was so long ago, I can’t remember,” Herman quipped. “Maybe that does have a little bit to do with what I did that day. My birthday’s in the summer, though, so I had a lot less at stake than Sam does. I’m sure he enjoyed himself this weekend with friends and family, but I haven’t talked to him at all about it.”

Herman added that it’s also Derek Kerstetter’s birthday, too.

No. 11 Texas and West Virginia kick off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday night in Morgantown. The Longhorns (3-1, 1-0) are favored by 11.5 points. Both schools are coming off bye weeks.

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