Poehlmann shines in substitute role

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Senior Luke Poehlmann has been the Longhorns’ de-facto substitute on the offensive line throughout his time at Texas. This season he’s been a key part of UT’s running game.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Luke Poehlmann isn’t in the Longhorns’ starting lineup, nor will his contributions show up in a box score, but his flexibility and willingness to adapt makes him an invaluable member of the Texas roster.

Poehlmann, a fifth-year senior, has lined up at nearly every position on the offensive line since he arrived on campus in 2008. He has also caught touchdown passes at tight end and excelled on special teams.

He’s Texas’ super-sub and has been used at a frequent rate this season as a sixth lineman and wing blocker in Texas’ power set,  a formation that’s been extraordinarily effective in short yardage situations — the set was used for all four of Joe Bergeron’s touchdowns against West Virginia last Saturday.

“Luke is playing so well for us,” head coach Mack Brown said. “He can play either guard, either tackle. He comes in on our power sets, just doing a phenomenal job, and is also becoming a tremendous leader.”

His leadership has been incredibly useful on a young team – he’s the only senior who sees playing time in the rotation on the line. He’s an upbeat guy, with an incredible work ethic that rubs off on his teammates.

Despite his status as a sub, his fellow linemen have an incredible amount of respect for him. Poehlmann has done everything asked of him in his four years on campus and hasn’t complained a bit. He’s always engaged in every practice and group meeting. He keeps the team’s energy up, and if there’s ever a lull he gets on the guys.

“Luke is ready to get us going before the game,” offensive guard Trey Hopkins said. “It’s not even just when he’s on the field. Just having Luke’s presence around, he does a great job of just getting our engines going.”

But it’s Poehlmann’s senior year and he wants to play, and he’s making the most of his opportunities come game day. Poehlmann may not be starting, but the coaching staff is finding spots for him on the field because of how effective he’s been.  

The coaching staff was so impressed by his work ethic and efforts in the power package that they gave him the opportunity to play right tackle, in place of Donald Hawkins, for the second half of the Oklahoma State game. It was a crucial situation, but Poehlmann handled it flawlessly, protecting David Ash for a number of critical late game drives. 

His performance earned him the Longhorns’ award for offensive lineman of the week, but more importantly, trust from the coaching staff.

“He just provides a lot of things for us offensively,” co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin said. “There is no hesitation from any of us to put him in any situation.”

He may not know what position he will line up at next, but Poehlmann enjoys his role. It brings something fresh every game, and allows him to contribute frequently in what wil be his final season in Austin.

“It’s been a blast,” Poehlmann said. “I just try to make myself available to play whatever I guess the situation calls for. It’s been a blessing to get to play. Wherever I can help the team out the most, whatever the situation calls for, wherever that is at, I have to do that.”

Printed on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 as: Poehlmann pulls weight on, off field