Head coach Tom Herman met with the media on Monday for his weekly press conference following Texas’ 27-24 double-overtime road loss on Saturday to then-No. 4 USC. Here are three notes from the press conference.
Williams’ injury raises concern on offensive line
Texas suffered a devastating blow in the second quarter of Saturday’s game when junior left tackle Connor Williams went down with a knee injury, forcing him to miss the rest of the game.
Williams underwent an MRI on Sunday, and upon further evaluation, Texas announced that Williams suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee, as well as a sprained MCL and PCL. Williams will have arthroscopic surgery on his torn meniscus “in the next week to 10 days,” and he has no timetable for his return, according to Texas.
As a result, senior Tristan Nickelson slid over to the left tackle spot in Saturday’s game. Nickelson had been platooning this season with sophomore Denzel Okafor at right tackle. The Longhorns are already missing redshirt junior right tackle Elijah Rodriguez due to an ankle injury, as well as redshirt freshman Patrick Hudson, who is out for the year with a torn ACL.
“(Our) desperation level is (at an) all-time high,” Herman said. “We have five guys right now — five — we feel good about putting in a game. We’ve got 10 days to get that number up to hopefully at least seven.”
Warren’s usage in question
Many Texas fans may feel perplexed as to why junior running back Chris Warren III only received four carries against the Trojans. Warren disappeared for large portions of the game, and the Longhorn faithful saw a lot of sophomore running back Kyle Porter — who only received five carries — lining up in the backfield.
Herman said after the game that Warren suffered an eye laceration during the contest but could not specify when the injury occurred. On Monday, Herman was pressed repeatedly on Warren’s limited usage but didn’t offer a reason for his absence.
“We got to find a way to get him more yards,” Herman said.
Update on quarterback situation
Freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger made his second-straight start on Saturday, throwing for 298 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions while completing 21 of 40 passes. Herman said after the loss that sophomore quarterback Shane Buechele would still get most of the first-team reps during Tuesday’s practice if he was fully healthy. Herman reiterated that sentiment on Monday.
“If Shane is 100 percent and having great practices, then Shane will start,” Herman said. “But I’m not gonna tell you Shane’s gonna start the Iowa State game when we’re 10 days away from it right now.”
Texas has a bye this Saturday but will play at Iowa State on Thursday, Sept. 28. A decision on the Longhorns’ starting quarterback for that game is still looming.