Taylor Estes - HornsDigest.com


In his latest CHIP DIPS, HD's CHIP BROWN touches on the theme of "reading" Tom Herman - from the beginning of spring football ... to John Bonney playing safety ... whether CB Davante Davis or DT D'Andre Christmas have stood out ... the progress of WR Lil'Jordan Humphrey ... to the over strides of UT's QBs and their new knee braces.

CHIP DIP #1 ... Tom Herman said the NCAA mandating the first two spring football practices without pads is like having a diving team practice without water. Nonetheless, Herman what he most wanted to get across in those first two practices before the team took a week off for spring break was HOW the Longhorns would be practicing.

And he feels like that was accomplished.

He always says practice is not about the plays that are worked on. But rather "the effort and intensity" exhibited all throughout practice - even running full speed on and off the field during team work.

"The first two practices were about our practice culture - what the expectations are for a practice and that the plays don’t matter. They never will," Herman said. 


"It’s how you prepare and how practice and then ultimately how you play - the effort and intensity with which you play with.


"If you have championship level practice habits, then it doesn’t matter what play you call. You can call whatever play you want if you have championship practice habits and have recruited well.


"I think that’s really starting to sink in."



CHIP DIP #2 ... Tom Herman said he saw glimpses of what he was looking for in the first two practices.


"We need to continue to develop our practice habits and work on going through the echo of the whistle," Herman said.


"When guys were going full speed and going through the echo of the whistle, it was impressive. There’s certainly a lot of athleticism on the field."



CHIP DIP #3 ... Coaches want to play John Bonney at "boundary safety" as opposed to cornerback, where he finished last season.


"That’s where we’d like to play (Bonney), just because of what we do with that boundary safety and the communication that’s involved. He’s a really bright guy," Herman said.


"We’re hoping we don’t need him at the corner depth, and he can play back there. He’s a physical guy who can help support the run. So, we’re going to develop some young corners knowing John is capable of playing corner or nickel if we need him."




CHIP DIP #4 ... Even though Davante Davis has been lining first in cornerback drills alongside Holton Hill during the first two spring practices, Tom Herman sounds like Davis still has a long way to go.


"(Davis) didn’t stand out (during winter conditioning) - good or bad. I really didn’t notice him," Herman said. "It’s hard when you have 80, 90 guys and only a few workouts to form an opinion on every single one.


"I’ve heard a lot of good things about him. Like you said, he looks the part. So now we gotta see if he can play football."



CHIP DIP #5 ... Tom Herman made it clear sophomore DT D'Andre Christmas has a way to go to make a favorable impression.


(And if you follow Christmas on snapchat you know that he had some pre-5 a.m. - what he called - "punishment" during winter conditioning.)


"He's a guy that needs to give better effort," Herman said. "When he does go, he’s an athletic guy. But he needs to learn how to go all the time."



CHIP DIP #6 ... Some wondered if sophomore Lil'Jordan Humphrey, who is listed at 6-5, 220 might move to TE. He's still at WR and during Thursday's practice, he got ripped by WR coach Drew Mehringer for running his routes "too soft." 


"He (Humphrey) had a really good winter," Herman said. "Out here (on the practice field), he’s big, so he gets winded pretty fast. We gotta get him in football shape. But he’s a big guy who you can tell loves football and wants to get better."



CHIP DIP #7 ... All of Texas' QBs, who are right-handed, are wearing knee braces on their left knee, and Tom Herman said that's something he picked up at Ohio State under Urban Meyer.


"It gives them security knowing they can step into throws and not worry about things that are at their feet," Herman said. "Then, on game days, it’s their decision about if they want to wear them or not."



CHIP DIP #8 ... Tom Herman said QBs Shane Buechele and Sam Ehlinger both over stride in their throwing motions but that he won't worry about correcting that until his QBs feel more comfortable running their new offense.


"Their heads are swimming right now with a new offense and the tempo of it and what’s expected of them," Herman said. "The quarterback has a lot on his plate in this offense.


"Me and Coach (Tim) Beck were talking about it. It’s probably the only position in football, where you have to teach scheme before you teach fundamentals, because you literally can’t get through a practice unless your quarterback knows to open left or open right, whether to look at this guy or that guy in his read. 


"So you teach the scheme first. There’s some fundamental things. Both of them are a bit of over striders, so we need to compact them a little bit. But that will come. Once they’re comfortable in the offense, we can start talking about the minutiae of fixing some of the issues with their mechanics."



CHIP DIP #9 ... Herman said he thought about starting his team's 15 spring practices after spring break (next week), but he didn't want to "cram 15 practices into four weeks."


"We’ve got to hit the road in spring recruiting, and you don’t want to drag it out," Herman said.


"I’ve done the four practices a week model, and that’s tough on the kids."


Herman said they'll review the first two practices when players return and spring football resumes on March 21.


"When we come back, we’ll have that Monday (March 20) to meet," Herman said. "You’ll be able to refresh them. 


"And with that first practice Tuesday in pads, as a staff, you try not to install very much new stuff and really go back over what you installed Day 1 and Day 2, so they can go full-go in pads. 


"And then on Thursday (March 23), you can hit them with a few new things in installation."



CHIP DIP #10 ... Players weren't discouraged from leaving town on spring break, but Tom Herman said he'll know where all of his guys are over the next week.


"If you’re with your brother, take care of your brother. If you go home with friends, just be smart. Our coaches will be in constant communication with them," Herman said.







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