Texas’ 51-41 opening loss to Maryland wasn’t the start anybody expected.
After nine months of anticipation, the Longhorns looked listless in their season opener. There were errors in all parts of the game, and following such a disappointing loss, head coach Tom Herman addressed the media at Monday’s press conference.
Here’s what Herman had to say as Texas prepares for its matchup against San Jose State on Saturday.
Herman announced sophomore quarterback Shane Buechele suffered a bruised throwing shoulder in Saturday’s game and will not practice Tuesday. Herman said Buechele woke up in a lot of pain Sunday and will be evaluated later this week.
For now, freshman Sam Ehlinger will step up and take reps with the first unit, while junior wide receiver Jerrod Heard will take reps at quarterback with the second unit. However, Herman said if Buechele can play, he will.
“Shane is our starting quarterback,” Herman said. “If he can play, he’s gonna play. If he can play not to the detriment of this team, then he’s gonna do that.”
Freshman wide receiver Reggie Hemphill-Mapps put on a show in his Longhorn debut. Hemphill-Mapps finished with seven receptions for 69 yards, but his most memorable play came in the third quarter when the Houston native returned a punt 91 yards for a touchdown.
Hemphill-Mapps didn’t exactly have the peace of mind as he prepared for Maryland. Like millions of Houston natives, the impact of Hurricane Harvey affected the freshman’s family.
“We didn’t know where his grandpa was for a while, actually,” Herman said. “His grandpa had to be rescued from on top of a car by a boat so Reggie had gone through some tough stuff over the course of a few days and really responded well.”
Herman noted the disappointment in the burnt orange locker room over the weekend. But he said one game won’t define the Longhorns’ season. Now it’s time to make the loss to Maryland a thing of the past.
“We came out, we practiced last night, and we put the Maryland game to rest,” Herman said. “Certainly not the lessons we learned, but put the game to rest and moved on to prepare for San Jose.”
Although Saturday’s loss seemed apocalyptic to Longhorn fans, Herman isn’t getting caught up in the overreaction. He knows one loss isn’t the end of the world – he’s in it for the long haul.
“These nine months of training wasn't just to beat Maryland,” Herman said. “This was to instill and solidify a culture and a way of doing things and an attitudinal shift, that I feel like we’re on our way. Did I think we were ahead of where we showed on Saturday? Yeah, I did, and hopefully we’ll do that this week.”