Tom Herman’s third game-week press conference has come and gone, in advance of Saturday’s Texas-USC game.
Here are the takeaways:
1. Who’ll start at quarterback? Herman didn’t say whether it would be Shane Buechele or Sam Ehlinger, but did mention that what happens at practice on Tuesday will be important. If Buechele is cleared to throw and practice, he’ll practice with the first-team.
2. Yes, Herman has a 6-0 record vs. Top 25-ranked teams, most notably leading Houston to upset wins over Florida State in a 2015 bowl game and then Oklahoma in the 2016 season opener. But he considers the Longhorns.
“We’re the underdogs,” Herman said. “They’ve been doing this awhile at Southern Cal. They had a great season last year, their quarterback is as good as there is in the country, their skill position players are all over the place and as good as there are in the country, the coaching staff and their schemes are as good as there is in the country.”
3. Freshman tight end Reese Leitao, suspended for the first two games, is active this week. Garrett Gray was injured against San Jose State. And Texas is still waiting on MRI results on offensive lineman Patrick Hudson, who also was injured against the Spartans.
4. Is Herman worried about Joshua Rowland, who’s missed all three of his field goal tries? You betcha.
“It is a worry. We’re 0 for 3 with with one block and two misses,” he said. “I thought the guards handled the inside pressure much better. I wish we hadn’t needed that lesson. But we’re gonna evaluate where he’s at and make sure the other guys are getting quality kicks in practice.”
5. Herman fielded a couple of questions about Jerrod Heard, including one that asked whether it’s too late for him to be considered for the starting quarterback position, especially in this kind of offense.
Herman didn’t bite. He acknowledged that we may see more of Heard in games, but that’s a far cry from bumping Buechle or Ehlinger out of the huddle.
“We’re still very optimistic on the speed and shortness of time for Shane’s recovery,” he said. “If thinks drag on for a couple of weeks, that’s when you’ve gotta say hey big boy, instead of a package, you’re gonna learn now to play quarterback. There’s a very big difference between knowing a couple of plays and managing the entire offense and managing the entire game. … Eight carries for 39 yards and they’re already making those kinds of assertions, I think it’s a little bit premature.
Saturday’s game at the L.A. Coliseum kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Central time. It’ll be aired on Fox.
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