Taylor Estes - HornsDigest.com

Texas Longhorn Head Coach Tom Herman Looks Ahead To Orange-White Spring Game

Tom Herman gives his final thoughts on the Longhorns as the first-year head coach and his team prepare to finish up spring football with Saturday's Orange-White Spring Game.

HornsDigest.com caught up with Tom Herman for the final time before his team takes the field in his first Orange-White spring game as Texas Longhorns head coach. 


RB Kyle Porter (right ankle) and CB Davante Davis (left shoulder) suffered minor practice injuries over the weekend. 

Herman described Porter's ailment as a "slight" ankle sprain, but the staff is being cautious with him. Porter will likely sit out of both Thursday's practice and the spring game.

"He still has a lot of work to do, but the guy has given us everything he's got for 12 practices," Herman said of Porter. "I'm impressed by his effort and durability."

Davis came down on his shoulder, sparking a "very minor" separated shoulder Herman believed to be "first-degree". The injury does not require surgery, and should be healed within a few weeks, according to the head coach.

TE Andrew Beck re-injured his foot, which previously held him out of the first portion of spring practice. Herman was not sure of the severity of the injury, but should know more Thursday after Beck sees a foot specialist.



With running backs Kyle Porter, Chris Warren and Kirk Johnson sidelined for the spring game, Herman most wants to see ball security out of his healthy RBs - redshirt freshman Tristian Houston and early-enrollee Toneil Carter Jr..

"I don't know if there's been a full practice those guys have gone through where the ball hasn't been on the ground by one, if not both of them. They're never going to play for us in a game if they can't protect the football.

"If they can protect the football, get their assignments right and run hard with good pad level, I think that's a success considering one's really young, and the other one is really, really young and should be a senior in high school."



The staff's philosophy with RBs is similar to a message a Pro Football Hall of Fame running back guest speaker delivered to Herman's team at Houston. 

"We had Jerome Bettis come talk to our team last year. He specifically talked to the running backs, and said a running back's job description is to protect the football and to protect the quarterback. Anything after that is gravy.

"That's kind of the philosophy we take. If you can't protect the football, you're not going to see the field."



Sorry Texas fans. Herman set expectations pretty low when asked what he wants to see from his offense come Saturday. 

The offense will be very "vanilla" in an effort to keep some mystery with what weapons the Longhorns have in their corner. However, Herman has higher expectations for what he wants to see from the defense. 

"You should still be able to see a defense that flies to the football - 11 hats to the football and getting takeaways.

"You should see an offense that hopefully - at least with the ones - has very limited penalties, and the ability to sustain drives, but also make plays."



The staff has a "decent" idea of the talent on the current roster. It sounds like Herman is of the belief spring football is about earning your role, with fall camp being focused on preparing for the season and winning Game 1. 

The Texas coaches have made it clear to the team that there is not a lot of time to earn a spot on the depth chart once fall camp begins, so now is the time to separate from the competition. 

"When we leave spring practice, we'll have a kind of definitive pecking order of guys we trust, guys on the cusp, guys that are probably a year away and probably guys that will never be there. You've had 15 practices to prove to us what kind of football player you are. What did you do?

"If you're not there yet, and at least making strides to get there, that's a good thing. If you're not, we've got to move on."



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