HD Only: Texas Longhorns Team, Recruiting, Hoops and More




Charlie Strong was asked after practice on Tuesday if he’d be hesitant to start Shane Buechele at QB as a freshman, and Strong said: 


“I will not be afraid to start him at all because I know he will go out there and compete and do what we asked him to do.”


Here’s the bottom line, we’ve talked about how the G-Force offense features a number of RPOs (run-pass options) that the QB goes to the line with. 


Almost every RPO in this rapid-tempo offense is based on a couple quick reads the QB has to make at a break-neck pace.


The first and most important read is the number of defenders in the box – 6 or less and the QB leaves the ball in the belly of his RB to go run against one or two linebackers or a linebacker and a safety.


If there are 7 or more in the box, the QB pulls the ball from the belly of his RB and makes a pre-determined, high-efficiency throw – usually a slant, bubble or tunnel screen.


And some of those high-efficiency throws involve the QB and one of the inside receivers making the same read about whether the defender over that inside receiver is playing with inside or outside leverage.


If the defender is playing the receiver inside, the route breaks outside, and vice versa.


All of that has to be read and communicated by the quarterback in split-second fashion. That’s why this offense stresses so many reps – to get the QB comfortable with speed the RPO reads have to be made.


I was told Buechele is getting more and more of the “complex” RPOs – the ones involving how a defender is playing the inside receiver – because he’s the QB furthest along and most comfortable with the offense at this point.


“Buechele is progressing faster than the other quarterbacks – even before Jerrod (Heard) was injured,” one source said.


Again, there are a lot of reps still to be taken before Sept. 3, and different QBs reach that level of “light going on” comfortability at different times. And it’s possible Tyrone Swoopes and Heard could hit that “light going on” comfortability before the spring game April 16 (Swoopes) or during fall camp (Heard).


As I touched on last week, each of these QBs do some different things and give offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert some different things to think about.


It’s early in the installation of the offense (probably about two-thirds of it is in), and, right now, Gilbert is just trying to get his quarterbacks to become comfortable with the rapid-fire reads that need to be made.


But it’s possible – down the road – for Heard to run some of the Wildcat/Single wing stuff Johnny Jefferson ran for Baylor against Texas and against UNC in BU’s bowl game (when BU ran for more than 600 yards).


That’s something to think about down the road, once the basics are learned and become second nature.


Another thing to think about – down the road – is a goal-line package for Swoopes (similar to the 18-Wheeler Package but different), if Swoopes does not end up as the starter (or even if he does).


(Chip Brown)






I’m hearing that Armanti Foreman is working at outside receiver.


The inside receivers who have been running with the ones are Lorenzo Joe and Jacorey Warrick. And if that doesn’t get your blood pumping, it’s understandable, because there is a LOT of work to do at inside receiver.


This group is far from a polished product.


We’ve seen Warrick have good springs in the past, only to get passed up by guys like Daje Johnson and Foreman.


But Collin Johnson and John Burt can’t take every snap at outside receiver – not in this high-rep offense.


Joe and Warrick have been the most consistent, so far.


DeAndre McNeal, Ryan Newsome and … wait for it … Jake Oliver – have also been working at inside receiver, pushing Joe and Warrick.


Oliver has great hands. But his problem has always been his lack of speed. So he’s working hard on his footwork to get separation with the way he runs his routes (think Jaxon Shipley). There’s been progress. 


It’s no sure thing that Oliver will work into the rotation, but he catches everything. One source said Oliver may have the best hands on the team.


Huge learning curve for McNeal, still, as a route runner and pass catcher, but he’s getting better. 


Newsome is small and is a bit of a liability as a blocker, and there’s a lot of blocking required of the inside receivers, especially on the bubble screens. But Newsome has great feet, and once he gets the ball in space, he’s elusive.


Davion Curtis projects as an outside receiver, and Reggie Hemphill-Mapps currently projects as an inside receiver.


And while those two have lots of promise, there is going to be a steep learning curve for them once they hit campus this summer.


This receiver group appears to have two players who are special: Burt and Collin.


Foreman has got to become more consistent in everything – work ethic, details, focus, etc. When he’s dialed in, he’s electric. When he’s not, he’s almost not even worth putting on the field. It’s a huge year for Foreman, and I’m told he knows it and has been responding.


The fact that he has to compete with Johnson and Burt to get on the field is probably the best thing that’s happened to him. Foreman knows those guys are legit, and that he’ll have to work his butt off to get on the field.


A Foreman’s entire high school career at Texas City, he was always the best player at his position – by a mile. Unfortunately, he allowed that to go to his head and often took a casual approach to things.


That, of course, is the complete opposite of D’Onta Foreman, who always had to grind and prove himself just to get on the field at Texas City. It’s a mindset that has served him well. 


(Chip Brown)






D'Onta Foreman ran for about 95 yards and a touchdown in last Saturday’s scrimmage, but he suffered a rib injury. So he’s not been taking part in contact drills this week.


A guy to keep an eye on is Roderick Bernard, who is working his tail off and appears to have all his speed back after recovering from an ACL tear. Bernard, even though he is listed on the roster as a receiver, isn’t much of a receiver.


But he’s fast and runs tough and has been impressive on speed sweeps and quick-hitting misdirection stuff in the run game. He’s basically been the lightning to the thunder of Chris Warren and D’Onta Foreman.


Will be interesting to see if Bernard can find a niche in this offense.


The guy who should make quite an impact when he returns from tearing his ACL last November is Kirk Johnson, who is easily the best receiver among the running backs and can motion out of the backfield to catch passes or even line up as a receiver.


That kind of versatility will be a tremendous weapon in this offense, because it will allow Sterlin Gilbert to line up Kirk Johnson where Gilbert thinks he can get a mismatch.


I’m told a linebacker trying to cover Kirk Johnson on a pass route will not be a fair fight. And, yes, you all know I’m a founding member of the Kirk Johnson fan club.


(Chip Brown)






USA Today


WHAT'S UP WITH TEVIN MACK? ... There appears to be conflicting information being circulated about if freshman wing Tevin Mack is content at Texas.
In the college coaching community, there were rumblings from those connected to Mack's AAU playing days that Mack might want to explore a transfer.
But a source inside the Texas program said Thursday Mack is not looking to leave at this point.
Mack averaged 13.3 minutes per game and 5.1 points per game on 29 percent shooting (51 of 176 FG) and 29.8 percent shooting from 3-point range (34 of 114). He  struggled on defense and struggled with fitting into the flow of the offense. Shaka Smart also wanted to see Mack  add to his offensive game - with simple things - like a pump fake every now and then before letting fly another 3.
THE RECRUITING ODYSSEY OF JARRETT ALLEN ... Five-star big man Jarrett Allen of Austin St. Stephen's remains the crown of the remaining targets on Shaka Smart's list of recruits for 2016.
Texas thought Allen might announce his college intentions at the McDonald's All-American game March 30, but he told our Evan Daniels that he won't announce anything until after the USA Nike Hoops Summitt this weekend.
The spring signing period starts on April 13, and Allen continues to say Texas and Houston first when he lists the six schools he says he's still considering.
There are rumblings that Houston's Kelvin Sampson is considering hiring Allen's AAU coach Marland Rowe. Is that why Allen is waiting on an announcement? Who knows?  Basketball recruiting is not for the timid.
HOW WILL TEXAS' 2016 HOOPS RECRUITING CLASS FINISH? ... I've been hinting for a while that I expect Texas to land a Power 5 small forward who will remind Horns' fans of P.J. Tucker (after sitting out a year under transfer rules).
Also, keep an eye on Tulane sophomore power forward Dylan Osetkowski (6-8, 245) as a potential transfer candidate (who would also have to sit out a year).
The biggest news that appears to be on the horizon is that Texas appears to be the new destination of 2016 4-star PF Clevon Brown of San Antonio Churchill, who has been committed to Vanderbilt since September 2015.
But with Kevin Stallings bolting Vandy for Pitt, Brown appears close to making a switch to Texas official.
So the ideal finish to Texas' 2016 class in addition to 4-star C James Banks, 4-star SG Jacob Young and 5-star PG Andrew Jones:
* C Jarrett Allen
* PF Clevon Brown
* Power 5 SF who will remind UT fans of PJ Tucker
* Another transfer - possibly Tulane's Osetkowski

(Chip Brown)





© Greg Powers

It’s no secret Charlie Strong knows a thing or two about recruiting. The latest example comes from the No. 19 overall prospect in 2017 Baron Browning.


The five-star outside linebacker released his top 10 list Wednesday evening, and the Longhorns made the cut.




I caught up with the Kennedale prospect for a quick quote to add to HD Only. Little did I know, Browning would deliver much more than I was expecting.


“Two words sum it up: Charlie Strong,” Browning said of why the Longhorns made the cut.


“I rarely find coaches who truly care about their players getting a degree first then worry about football second.”


He continued ...


“And it’s not only him. Coach BJ (Brian Jean-Mary) and (Vance) Bedford are all great guys and coaches.


“I know those three men will push me to the max to get everything out of me and push my body to a place I never thought it could go.


“It’s almost like the saying ‘tearing you down but building you back up in the process.’”


Browning’s powerful statements about the Longhorn coaches further demonstrates the impact Strong makes on prospects. 


While nine other programs remain in contention for his commitment, it is clear Texas is in good standing with Browning.


(Taylor Gaspar)


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