After a rough start to the season, the Longhorns are hitting the reset button with San Jose State coming to Austin on Saturday. Here are three notes from Tuesday’s practice.
Players-only meeting called after Maryland loss
It’s just one week into the season and the Tom Herman era and the Longhorns have already called a players-only meeting. Junior left tackle Connor Williams said the team captains and other players spoke in the roughly 20-minute meeting following Saturday’s defeat against Maryland.
“We opened the floor for anyone to speak and just get anything off their chest,” Williams said. “It was very positive, moving on, staying with the plan and believing in the plan.”
Despite the difficult season opener, senior linebacker Naashon Hughes said the meeting produced positives for the team moving forward.
“For me, I take losses personal,” Hughes said. “I was hurt a lot, and I just wanted to make sure that guys didn’t see me down. I just wanted to make sure everybody was on the same page and everybody was still here, ready to work when we came back.”
Longhorns victims of “trying too hard”
Herman admitted at his Monday press conference that players were “trying too hard” to be perfect in the game on Saturday. Every Texas player made available following Tuesday’s practice shared the same sentiment. But the reason as to why that was the case for the Longhorns was hard to pinpoint.
“I mean, I don’t have all the answers,” Williams said. “We’re working on it. We’re trying to get it fixed. I’m sure we’re gonna be more relaxed next time.”
Texas ready to back Ehlinger if necessary
On Monday, Herman announced that sophomore quarterback Shane Buechele sustained a bruised throwing shoulder during the Maryland game. Buechele sat out practice both Tuesday and Wednesday and will be further evaluated throughout the week. Herman said the injury happened mid-game, but Buechele was still able to finish the contest, throwing for 375 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for a touchdown. Buechele woke up Sunday morning “in a lot of pain,” Herman said.
If Buechele can’t go against San Jose State, freshman Sam Ehlinger will be next in line. Ehlinger — a Westlake High School product — is getting first-team reps in practice while junior wide receiver Jerrod Heard, a former quarterback for the Longhorns, is working with the second team.
“I definitely think Sam is capable of running the show,” junior cornerback P.J. Locke III said. “He’s a nitty and gritty guy. He’s a very confident guy. He’s not scared to drop the shoulder at all even though he plays quarterback. If it so happens that he gets the starting job, I mean, I got his back. We got his back.”
Buechele has started every game in his Texas career so far and has led the Longhorns to big wins against Notre Dame and Baylor. The Longhorns know Saturday’s game against San Jose State is a must-win, and there’s a chance Ehlinger, a true freshman, could be tasked with leading Texas from behind center.
“Next man up,” Locke said. “That’s how it is.”