Players speak on Holton Hill’s suspension
With the news of junior cornerback Holton Hill’s suspension only a few hours old, much of the talk during Texas players’ media availability after Tuesday’s practice revolved around Hill.
“The situation’s disappointing, but you got to move on,” junior linebacker Malik Jefferson said. “I think you got to just encourage him to do better and just uplift him.”
Senior nickelback Antwuan Davis, one of the Longhorns’ most experienced players on the roster and a steady leader in the defensive backs’ room, said he feels like “a big-brother mentor” to Hill.
“All we can do is support him,” Davis said. “That’s our teammate. That’s our brother. Whatever’s going on, we’re gonna support him through whatever it is.”
The loss of Hill is unmistakably a big one for the Longhorns. Hill has been the best cover corner for Texas this season. He’s arguably the secondary’s most valuable player alongside junior safety DeShon Elliott. Hill is Texas’ second-leading tackler and has two interceptions to go with six pass-breakups this season.
“He means a lot to us,” junior linebacker Gary Johnson said. “Every player on this team does.”
Head coach Tom Herman briefly addressed reporters after practice on Tuesday but declined to say much about Hill’s suspension.
Herman did say that junior Davante Davis and freshman Josh Thompson will compete for Hill’s starting job. Jefferson said both players are ready to fill the Longhorns’ void at cornerback.
“They’re competing, and they play very well,” Jefferson said. “Josh is very physical. Davante is very physical. They’re both good in pass coverage. So it’s gonna be interesting to see who’s gonna actually take that spot.”
Texas fighting to make a bowl game
Following a 24-7 loss to TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, this past Saturday, the Longhorns are just fighting to make a bowl game at this point and to salvage what has been a frustrating season.
Texas is 4–5 and has Kansas, West Virginia and Texas Tech left on the schedule. The Longhorns have to win two of those last three games to reach six wins and become bowl eligible. Texas has missed out on a bowl game each of the past two seasons.
“It’s very important. I haven’t made a bowl game in my college career,” Jefferson said. “It’s very frustrating. But you can’t give up. You still have three more games to go play. It’s very important that we finish out this year strong.”
Making a bowl would be a sign of improvement under first-year head coach Tom Herman, even if it’s only in the slightest sense.
Freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who is dealing with an “inner ear issue” as a lingering effect from his head injury, remained a non-contact participant in Tuesday’s practice. Sophomore center Zach Shackelford and freshman running back Toneil Carter, who were both dealing with head injuries, were full participants at practice on Tuesday.