Lil'Jordan Humphrey

Longhorn fans can’t say Texas isn’t making efforts to rejuvenate the burnt orange brand. It’s too early to determine whether the efforts will pay off, but as inflatable obstacle courses resided on the sideline of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium and a firework show concluded the game, it was clear that the 2018 Orange-White spring game was just Texas’ latest attempt to bring Texas fans back to DKR.

“First thing, obviously, I need to thank our fans,” Texas head coach Tom Herman said afterward. “What a great job, especially with the threat of inclement weather, of them showing out as well as they did, as enthusiastic as they were, as energetic as they were.”

And the fans didn’t appear to leave early, either. After Texas’ White squad took down the Orange squad, 23-13, Longhorn fans flooded the field for the postgame autograph session in addition to the fireworks show.

“I really felt them tonight as opposed to last year,” Herman said. “Thanks to Chris Del Conte and his staff for a really wonderful pre-game atmosphere to allow the fans on the field. I think we're slowly but surely getting to the point where I think we're going to see the stands packed the way that we all hoped that they do.”

Here’s what we saw after the fans found their seats and the Longhorns took the field:

Johnson, Humphrey electrify the night

With the quarterback battle at the forefront all spring, two wide receivers on opposing teams seemingly stole the show. Junior Collin Johnson and sophomore Lil’Jordan Humphrey went back and forth all night. Johnson finished with one touchdown and 91 yards on six receptions for the orange team.

But Humphrey had a night as well, with 100 yards receiving on seven receptions, even finding the end zone twice on the ground.

Johnson and Humphrey flashed glimpses of superstar potential last season, but neither player could make the leap. If both wide receivers can make plays in the fall, look for the entire unit to benefit from more one-on-one looks.

“I definitely think this offseason and spring we’ve been a lot more productive,” Johnson said. “People have been a lot more bought in. You know how the first year is, a lot of times people don't really understand how to do things exactly.

The Punter’s cousin

As both teams headed into their locker rooms for halftime, former punter Michael Dickson walked onto the field with his Ray Guy Award for punter of the year in hand. Fans rose to their feet in appreciation for the star-studded Australian. But Texas had an answer for the fans who are still missing Dickson, none other than freshman punter Ryan Bujcevski –– Dickson’s cousin.

Bujcevski jogged onto the field for his Longhorn debut early in the first quarter. His first punt looked all too familiar. A 59-yard boot was enough to impress the Texas faithful as Dickson watched on from the sideline. But that’s as good as Bujcevski’s night would get. Punts of 30 and 40 yards forced Longhorn fans to pump the brakes.

Running game (?)

Texas’ leading rushers, for both teams, were both quarterbacks in Sam Ehlinger and Cameron Rising. One non-quarterback found the endzone twice, but he wasn’t a running back either.

Most teams don’t show much when it comes to televised spring games. Herman said they opted to run a lot of inside zone and power when close to the endzone. But it was Humphrey who pushed the ball across the goal line. This brought a lot of questions regarding Texas’ running back unit.

“We were in 11 personnel the entire game, ran inside zone and power,” Herman said.  “So, when you get compressed down there, you don't have any specific goal line plays because you don't want to show them. We still need improvement. But how do I feel? I feel a lot better than I did this time last year, and a lot better than I did in December.”

Texas now looks forward to summer camp where Herman will continue his search for a starting quarterback and go-to running back. Until then, let the countdown to the season opener against Maryland on Sept. 1 begin.

Photo Credit: Katie Bauer | Daily Texan Staff

From nearly three hours before kickoff until the final whistle, Texas wanted to send a message — and that didn’t have to necessarily be left solely on the field.

Two concerts, a live radio show and a postgame player autograph session were part of just some of the festivities at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium during Saturday night’s Orange-White spring game. The White team took home a 23-13 win to wrap up the 15th and final practice of the spring season.

“I need to thank our fans … showing out as well as they did, as enthusiastic as they were … really felt it,” Texas head coach Tom Herman said. “I think we’re slowly but surely getting to the point where I think we’re going to see the stands packed the way that we all hoped that they do.”

Saturday night’s game focused primarily on the offense and its ability to make big plays in both phases of the game. While the Longhorns didn’t unveil their entire offensive package, they did pull a few tricks out of the bag.

Texas’ running game found an unexpected spark from junior wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey. Humphrey was prominently featured in Texas’ goal-line packages, running in for two touchdowns on the night.

Humphrey also tallied 100 receiving yards on seven catches, linking up with sophomore quarterback Sam Ehlinger on multiple occasions.

“(Humphrey) is about as versatile an offensive player as I’ve ever been around,” Herman said. “When you see a guy like him have the amount of catches he has, that means the quarterbacks believe in him.”

On the other side of the ball, junior wide receiver Collin Johnson had his fair share of highlights. Two tip-toe grabs — one in the back of the end zone for a touchdown and another along the sideline — showed fans what they missed last year.

A six-catch, 91-yard performance with many big grabs showed why Johnson is one of the best one-on-one receivers in the country. His ability to form chemistry with any quarterback, including freshman Cameron Rising, will make him an even bigger threat in 2018.

“I don’t know that we ever didn’t see that version of Collin Johnson,” Herman said. “You get your best players the football.”

Behind those receivers, fans also got to see how the quarterbacks have developed over the spring. Neither disappointed, as junior Shane Buechele and sophomore Sam Ehlinger combined for 281 yards through the air.

In Saturday’s affair, both quarterbacks earned their stripes with the long ball. Seam routes down the middle, deep posts and a few go routes in the mix provided a measuring stick as to where each quarterback was.

“I told the quarterbacks, experiment, rip it in there, man,” Herman said. “Try to fit it in the tight windows, because I want you to have that confidence when you do.”

Texas’ early enrollees also got their first glimpse of in-game action since coming to Austin. Freshman defensive back B.J. Foster made his presence known early, nearly reeling in a one-handed interception in coverage. The duo of freshman quarterbacks, Casey Thompson and Cameron Rising, also made their respective debuts with a couple of nice tosses on the run.

“They’re a really good group,” senior tight end Andrew Beck said. “None of them are problem guys. They all came in and put their nose to the grindstone and just went from day one.”

Through the stats and impressive plays Saturday night, it wasn’t difficult to tell Herman, the players and his staff had the culture in place to help Texas turn the corner.

“We’re excited about what we have going on right now,” Beck said. “We’ve seen the fruits of our labor, how good we can be and now it’s just continuing to develop.”