Tom Herman held his first press conference of the regular season, and yes, we finally got our hands on an official depth chart.
Here are the biggest takeaways:
*** As we reported last week, Sam Ehlinger will start in the Longhorns’ season-opener against Maryland on Saturday. There haven’t been any “catastrophes” reported yet, so Ehlinger is still the guy.
“We feel extremely good about our quarterback situation. Sam has certainly embraced being the starting quarterback and has had a good week of practice. Shane Buechele, to his credit, what a team guy. He has gone out and competed every day.”
*** However, Herman said that the odds of Shane’s number getting called at some point in the season are high. I don’t think this his way of saying Sam is on a short leash as much as it is him saying he really thinks Shane has earned some playing time.
“Shane (Buechele) made it very difficult to make the decision — probably the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make as a head coach. You know, we went through something very similar at Ohio State when Braxton Miller went down. We had to decide between J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones, and neither of them did anything wrong. Neither of them proved that you can’t win with them. In fact, the opposite is true.”
*** Besides the quarterback battle, there is still an elephant in the room: play-calling duties.
“We’ll all be calling plays on offense. It’s the same that went into the decision last year. Again, there is not a play that gets called or suggested that does not have veto power by the head football coach Tom Herman. So I will be in charge of making sure that the plays that are run are the plays that we feel as an offensive staff are the ones that will be the most successful in said situation.”
*** Herman later looked into the camera to address the Texas fans who will go after Tim Beck the second the offense looks stagnant: “Fans, the minute this offense get a hangnail, blame me and the offensive staff.”
*** Herman can say this all year. I doubt it’ll save Beck from the heat he will continue to get if the offense doesn’t look different from last year.
*** As far as the offensive line goes, there weren’t any real shockers. Obviously, Rodriguez, Shackelford, and Vahe had their starting spot, but we did learn that Calvin Anderson is officially starting over Denzel Okafor — and there isn’t an OR next to their names, either.
*** There still seems to be a battle between Kerstetter and Cosmi at right tackle. Kerstetter is labeled as the starter, but there is an OR next to Cosmi’s name. Keep an eye on this as they develop throughout the season.
*** Herman said there are freshmen who have earned playing time. Caden Sterns has his starting spot locked down, but B.J. Foster, Anthony Cook, Kobe Boyce and Joseph Ossai are all listed on the two-deep depth chart.
“He just keeps getting better. With him, it was never a physical issue. It was never a want to issue. It was never a tackling issue. It was a knowing the defense issue. He’s put on 10 pounds since he’s gotten here. He feels good. Since he’s been here he’s thrown his body around. He’s got unbelievable ball skills. I think his biggest development has been his knowledge and comfortability with the defense.”
*** The battle for starting kicker has gone under the radar all summer, and there is still no definitive answer as of Monday morning. Cameron Dicker, the freshman out of Lake Travis is still trying to take the starting job from last year’s starter Joshua Rowland.
“I don’t think you’ll see both. I don’t. I think it’s going to come down to really just a couple days here. They’re fairly neck and neck. The guy that makes the most pressure kicks here in the next couple days will be the guy that jogs out against Maryland.”
We will likely get an answer when we talk to him again on Thursday. Texas will play its season opener on the road for the third time in 23 years when the Longhorns take on Maryland at FedEx Field on Saturday.