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W W W. I N S I D E T E X A S . C O M

in this issue


Getting Running | by Mike Blackwell They key to a successful offense next season is an improved run game.

Struggle in Ft. Worth | by Joe Cook


Long Journey to Austin | by Mike Blackwell


The Frogs controlled the game and gradually wore Texas down.

To Texas by way of Alabama and junior college in Kansas, Gary Johnson has found a home in Austin.

No Jaywark Miracle This Year | by Joe Cook


Back and Forth | by Tim Preston


Longhorns parlay fast start to comfortable win over Kansas.

Kerwin Roach and Andrew Jones look for consistency this season.

Bowl Bound | by Joe Cook A big win in Morgantown assures a bowl bid in 2017.

Back to Earth | by Joe Cook Two late turnovers and a lack of running game ruin regular season finale.



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RECAPTURIN By Mike Blackwell

It was a simple, really. The Texas football team faced a third down with just two yards to go, leading by three points, ball at the Texas Tech 37 yard-line, only a couple of minutes left in the game 6

NG THE RUN Texas must revive putrid running game in 2018

Photographs by Will Gallagher

Deniel Young


id I mention the Longhorns were

Saxton, D’Onta Foreman, Cedric

up by three? And that they need-

Benson, Jamaal Charles - cannot

ed just two yards for a first down? Playing at home.

teenage, true freshman quarterback.

confidently hand the ball to a running

Now that the 2017 regular season

back with the general assumption that

has ended, it’s certainly time to look

72 inches can be gained.

toward 2018 as quickly and earnestly as possible.And perhaps the biggest

Against a horrendous run defense.

Therefore, freshman Sam Ehlinger is

progression from 2017 to 2018 for UT

passing over the middle, on the run...

should be this: the Longhorns must

With an All-American, first-round draft

and, you and Michael Dickson know

- must - be able to run the football

choice at left tackle.

the rest.

effectively. Based on what was seen on the field in 2017, this progression must move quickly; the Texas offense needs to find a running game. Now. How bad is it currently? Consider: - As a team, Texas rushed for 1,702 yards in 2017, averaging 3.7 yards per carry. In 2018, D’Onta Foreman alone rushed for 2,028 yards...on 142 fewer carries. Ugh. - Texas’ leading rusher was the teenage, true freshman quarterback, Ehlinger, who gained about 25 percent of Foreman’s yardage in 2018: 495 yards. Oh, and he only played in eight games. - The next four highest rushers on the team were, in order, Daniel Young (333 yards), Chris Warren (332), Toneill Carter (263) and Kyle Porter

Toneil Carter

(238). Which one of these folks had

Hand off to the running back, run be-

The Texas Longhorns, known for

the most carries? Well, the one with

hind the All-American, gain two yards,

decades as a program that stubbornly

the fewest yards, of course.

win the game.

and arrogantly and willfully runs the


football as it wishes, is now a program

- Texas entered the Texas Tech game

that cannot run the football.

ranked 63rd nationally in red-zone touchdown percentage, abysmal at

Except that the 2017 Texas Long-

Now, on third and two to put a game

best. In the first half alone, Texas ran

horns - with the proud heritage of

away, the Longhorns feel as though

eight plays inside the three yard-line,

Earl Campbell, Ricky Williams, Jimmy

their best option is a pass from a

for -1 total yards.


So how do these stats get reversed in 2018? It’s almost as simple as running an off-tackle play behind your All-American offensive lineman on third and two. 1. UT must continue to recruit, rebuild and refine its offensive line. Connor Williams is not walking through that door. 2. UT must recruit elite, game-changing, to-the-house carrying, running backs. 3. UT must be confident enough to call running plays in the red zone and in short yardage situations. And - duh - give your most effective running back the ball more often than you give it to the other backs. Simple. Kyle Porter

Number one on the “solutions” list - rebuilding an offensive line - is the most tricky of the three. Injuries forced the Longhorns to go with youth at several spots up front in 2017, which is both good and bad. It’s good in that it gave the young linemen valuable experience; but it’s certainly bad in that not only did it force the offense to try and run behind an inexperienced line, but it also eliminated the option of redshirting. To address this issue, Texas needs to recruit offensive linemen out of high school, but also try and find Juco help as well. Target the top high school and Juco linemen, and go get’em.

To his credit, Tom Herman is already

And now, to number three. Stop over-

handling number two - he visited Car-

thinking. Stop being fancy. Stop trying

thage running back Keaontay Ingram

too hard. And for the love of Bevo,

in his home within a couple of days of

stop throwing the ball on third and

the Tech collapse. Ingram is only the

short. Is Carter averaging more yards

top-rated running back in the state of

per carry than your other backs?

Texas. This is a good thing.

Then GIVE HIM THE BALL instead of giving him the fifth-most carries on the

Put an all-out press on Ingram to sign

squad, as it happened in 2017.

early, in December. Also, have plans B and C ready in case something

Beef up the line. Full-court press

weird happens late in the recruiting

the best running back recruits in the

process. Warren is gone now, but

country. Don’t over think.

a three-some of Young, Carter and Ingram - sprinkled with light doses of


Porter - is definitely an improvement over this season.

Kind of like third and two.



FORT WORTH — With injuries and other issues plaguing the Texas offense and the stellar play of the Texas defense, the biggest question for head coach Tom Herman and his Longhorns was how the offense would be able to keep up with No. 8 TCU at Amon G. Carter Stadium.







CU and Gary Patterson easily

few minutes left played lights out, played

Though the defense put together a strong

took care of that question, limiting

well enough, played winning football.”

defensive effort, it still had its struggles early. TCU took its first drive 75 yards in

Texas to just one short scoring

drive that came as a result of two 6-foot-5

The lone Longhorn score came when

three and a half minutes, capped off by

players coming down with 50/50 balls over

Texas began on its own 25 down 17-0 with

a one yard rush from Kyle Hicks, the first

shorter corners.

9:19 left in the second. Sophomore Shane

of his two. TCU would add a field goal at

Buechele completed a 37-yard pass to

the beginning of the second quarter to go

TCU scored three times in the first half and

sophomore Lil’Jordan Humphrey, and fol-

ahead 10-0.

once more late in the game to neutralize

lowing a TCU penalty, completed another

a strong effort from the Texas defense,

pass to sophomore Collin Johnson for a

“I think that we were so worried about

winning 24-7.

33-yard score.

changing formations, personnel, looking

“Hats off to TCU,” Herman said. “That’s

Besides those two big plays, Texas failed

going so fast we couldn’t get lined up and

a really good football team. I think it was

to establish much of an identity on offense.

communicated,” junior Malik Jefferson said

very evident that you saw the two best de-

The team rushed for nine yards on 26

on the early defensive performance. “Mov-

fenses in our conference battle it out. From

carries. Much of the negative net yardage

ing forward, watching film, we’re going to

my perspective, the biggest difference

came as a result of seven TCU sacks on

make sure we do a better job of that.”

was early we gave up a couple big plays.

Buechele, but even the team’s leading

We didn’t match that offensively. Then the

rusher, freshman Daniel Young, rushed 12

Texas would take the ensuing drive 45

defense settled down and had a stretch

times for only 31 yards.

yards to set up a field goal attempt from

at what they were doing, and they were

junior Joshua Rowland. Kicking into a

there in the first quarter all the way with a

Poona Ford (95) and Malik Jefferson (46)



headwind, Rowland’s effort fell in the TCU end zone short of the crossbar. It would be Rowland’s only attempt. Texas would score its lone touchdown on the next drive, but would have to punt on seven of their next 10 drives, with the other three drives ending in turnovers on downs. TCU added another touchdown in the fourth quarter when Darius Anderson juked Brandon Jones on his 31-yard scamper to the end zone to complete the scoring for the evening. The Longhorn offensive line continued to struggle, failing to open holes for running backs. When it came to passing downs, TCU spread defenders around to give Buechele little room to throw. Behind the bad offensive line, Buechele’s best options were throwing up long balls in the hope his receiver could come down with it.

Shane Buechele

Buechele finished 21-for-44 for 254 yards and one touchdown pass. Humphrey had a game high 109 yards on six receptions. Johnson hauled in 3 catches for 49 yards and Buechele’s lone score. The defense limited TCU’s Kenny Hill to just 146 yards on 18-of-26 passing. The Horned Frogs rushed for 177 yards on 46 carries, with Anderson leading the way with 99 yards and a score. On defense, Jefferson led the way with 10 tackles. Sophomore Brandon Jones and junior Gary Johnson tied for second with nine, and seniors Antwuan Davis and Poona Ford followed up with seven apiece.

Herman and his offensive staff to try and “We have to get better,” Herman said.

remedy it to give Texas an opportunity to

“Surprisingly, I think we have. I know it

go to a bowl game.

doesn’t feel that way tonight, but I think we are steadily improving in that area.

“What I told them is that we have an op-

Offensive football is really hard when you

portunity to go 1-0 this week and be one

have to be perfect. We’ve got to find ways,

step closer to getting to a bowl game,”

whether that’s throw some quick screens

Herman said. “These seniors deserve to a

on first down to stay ahead of the chains

bowl game. That’s big picture. We have to

and not get ourselves in third-and-long and

worry about Kansas this week. We under-

we’ve got to make some more plays down

stand that it puts us one step closer to that

the field too.”

big-picture bowl. I’m very confident. If we keep playing defense that way, we will find

With these struggles, it now is up to

a way to gut out a couple wins here.”

Join the Conversation

Though the offensive line looked rough for most of the game, Herman said postgame he has seen improvement in the unit.




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WHAT THEY SAID... TOM HERMAN “It’s not the NFL. We can’t go on the waiver wire and


go pick up free agents. We

“Our defense every week

have to get our guys better.

plays great. That is frus-

We have be creative offen-

trating, and I’m sure it’s

sively too.”

extremely frustrating for them too just seeing what we do on offense. On offense we just have to get a lot better and put together drives and stop shooting ourselves in the foot.”

MALIK JEFFERSON “I think it was just important to get the ball back to our offense in the best situations. We started off really slow and had a lot of communication errors. We just tried to communicate better and tried to get our offense into the best field position possible. That is all you can do as a defense, just trying to create turnovers and do what you can and just make plays.”

7 - 24 14 9 254 4-18 0 26:36


17 177 166 5-17 0 33:24 15

JOHNSON’S UNCONV The road from Douglas, Alabama to Austin, Texas was a long and winding one for UT junior linebacker Gary Johnson. How do you get to Austin from Douglas? Through Kansas, of course.


ike most high school athletic stars, Johnson daydreamed big while a student at Douglas High School. After all, he was a young man with serious athletic gifts. How gifted?

Well, in addition to his mad linebacking skills, the 6-1, 220-pound Johnson literally won the 100-meter Alabama class 5A state championship in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.59. Umm, and that was without starting blocks. He has a listed 40-yard dash time of 4.26 seconds, and his vertical leap is 39.4 inches. So yeah, gifted was he. Yet as gifted as he was, he had moved during high school and didn’t have a chance to play as a junior, so he ended up at Dodge City Community College in Kansas when his high school career ended. Despite being a long way from home - and in the middle of Kansas at that - Johnson prospered. He finished his career there with a school-record 215 tackles to go along with 11.5 sacks, a total that was second in school history. He even had five career interceptions, third in school history. He was an all-region and two-time All-Kansas Jayhawk Community College performer at inside linebacker. As a sophomore, and playing in only nine games, Johnson recorded 82 total tackles, had 13 tackles for loss, three quarterback sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception. “It was pretty hard step coming from high school to junior college, but it made me mature fast enough to know that I had to do what I had to do, and get to the next level,” Johnson said of his experience. “That’s what I did.”




contacted Johnson while he was on Tom Herman’s staff at the His dominant stint in community college resulted in him get-

University of Houston.

ting almost 30 Division 1 offers. Auburn, TCU, USC, LSU, Ohio State, Georgia, Oregon, Ole Miss. Eventually, his home

“When we got here from Houston he was actually on the board

state pull was too strong, and he committed to Nick Saban and

of guys that the half-staff was here recruiting,” Orlando remem-

Crimson Tide.

bered. “I said, ‘Oh, I know that guy.’ Somebody had actually reached out to him, and the second I called him up and I said

But an unforeseen SEC academic requirement resulted in John-

‘I’m at Texas’ he was like, ‘I want to visit.’”

son splitting from Alabama, opening up his recruiting again. Clearly the fit for Johnson in Austin was a comfortable one. Herman’s comments about Johnson on National Signing Day were telling: “What a phenomenal athlete Gary Johnson is. He’s a hammerhead, he loves to hit. And you feel when he hits you.” Orlando concurred. “We recruited Gary while at Houston,” Orlando said. “There was some interest in us but I don’t think we were the bigger fish he wanted. I think he liked me. I was real with him and told him it was a good system for a guy like him to be in. But then he started hearing from more of the big boys and I think at one point he was a verbal commit to Alabama.” Once Johnson arrived in Austin, though, it was clear that his athletic ability would transfer well from community college to the Big 12. But it was also clear that Orlando and Herman did not want to rush Johnson into the mix too soon. “The biggest thing, and I’ve talked about this with getting him to learn about the

Toneil Carter

culture,” Orlando said. “There’s things that he

“It was pretty difficult,” Johnson said. “Once I set aside the

needs to do consistently all the time and he’s gotten better. When

schools that I was interested in and took my visits, it was pretty

he first got here, obviously coming from the junior college route,

much obvious that Texas was the place for me.”

and getting him into our program, where things were different just in terms of the overall demands of being here, doing this,

Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando had initially


doing this, doing this. And I keep telling Gary all the time during

that stretch was, ‘You’re going to be able to show your talent when you’re aligned with our culture.’ “With Gary, it was simply making sure that he paid his dues. I said that the very first time I was in here, we’re not going to reward guys until they do things collectively at a high percentage all the time. When he started doing that is when we started putting him on the field more, and then eventually he’s where he’s at right now.” Where he’s at right now is a pretty good place. He has 50 tackles this season, six for loss of yardage and a pair of quarterback sacks. He was Co-Defensive Player of the Week in the Big 12 after his play on the road at West Virginia: seven tackles, a forced fumble and a quarterback hurry and a huge strip-sack in the fourth quarter that helped the Longhorns stretch their lead from seven to 14 points. “Once I got here, it was exactly what I thought

Kyle Porter

it would be: faster and more physical,” John-

Anytime you have more speed, if you do make a mistake or

son said. “Everything happened so fast once I

something busts loose, you have the ability to get it on the

got here. I just had to do what I had to do.”

ground and play another play. That’s going to help you.”

He’s made regular contribution to the Texas cause as his playing time has increased. He recorded a career-high eight tackles against Oklahoma State, and added a half-dozen tackles in the

Whatever help is needed, Johnson appears to be capable of giving. After all, his trip has been different than most who end up wearing the burnt orange.

rout of Baylor.

“I’m just doing,” Johnson said, “what I came here to do.”

Certainly Orlando is appreciative of Johnson’s contribution, probably with an eye on what could be an even better player in 2018. “He can run with the best of them,” Orlando said. “He wants to make every play. To see him out there, it gives us more speed.



Lil’ Jordan Humphrey

AUSTIN — Prior to the game against the Longhorns, the Kansas Jayhawks scored 29 points over the last four games, including getting shutout twice. They had not scored more than 25 points against the Longhorns this century, and had only scored that many away from home just once this season. 20



Photos by Will Gallagher



ansas had more yards, first

by Kansas that resulted in a very short field.

downs, and passing touchdowns than the Longhorns, but Texas

long from their own two, Kansas had quarterback Stanley Carter drop back to pass.

It looked like the Longhorns were off to

His pass was picked off by Davis, who took

was able to trudge forward to a 42-27

another fast start though after recovering

it in for the score. Davis later added another

victory thanks to a hot start in the first

Kansas’ onside kick attempt to open the

interception and a fumble recovery as part

quarter. Outside of those four scores, which

game. Junior John Burt jumped on the ball,

of his career day.

included a pick-six from senior Antwuan

and when the offense went out on the field,

Davis, Texas limped to the finish line to

sophomore Shane Buechele completed

“It’s a great feeling to be out there with this

complete its fifth victory of the season.

a deep strike to senior Lorenzo Joe for

defense, with this team,” Davis said. “These

49 yards and the score, part of Joe’s five

guys, they fly around and I just wanted to

reception, 98-yard evening.

be a part of one of those guys. I don’t want

“Winning college football games is difficult especially with where we’re at as a pro-

to be a missing piece. I want to be a part of

gram,” head coach Tom Herman said after

“We’ve been running that play all year,” Joe

this puzzle.”

the game. “We knew that there was going

said. “Y’all have seen it before. It’s been

to be adversity throughout the game and

either underthrown, overthrown or pass

Herman and defensive coordinator Todd

that it wasn’t going to be easy. I thought we

interference. Shane threw a great ball and it

Orlando were almost without Davis this

lulled a little bit here and there, but for the

landed in my hands and we scored. It was

season, as Herman explained after the

most part, responded.”

a big score for us at the beginning of the


game.” That lull ended up being the last 45 minutes

“This is a guy that needed to pass an

of the game when Texas managed two

Texas scored soon after thanks to a little

ungodly amount of hours in the spring and

scores, one of which came off of a mistake

help from the Jayhawks. Facing third and

summer to graduate, and he needed to graduate to be eligible to play this season,” Herman said. “(Safeties coach/special teams coordinator) Craig Naivar dove into his life and prodded him and taught him and mentored him to where he did, and he graduated and is playing really good. “This is a guy that has thrived in his role on special teams, done an excellent job there, and then when P.J. (Locke) goes down, he’s filled in very, very well for P.J.” Kansas would score on the ensuing drive after two 15-yard penalties on Texas and well-executed quick passing. A wide receiver screen to the left side ended with Steven Sims diving across the goal line for the Jayhawks’ first score. Texas responded with a ground attack led by freshmen Daniel Young (20 carries, 67 yards) and Toneil Carter (3 carries, 34 yards). Young received four rushes that put Texas on the Kansas 23. Carter came in to give young a break, received the next carry,

Charles Omenihu


and brought it in 23 yards for the score to


make it 21-7. Another interception by senior Jason Hall, one of three for the Longhorns, gave Texas another short field. Freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger trotted in, and found fellow freshman tight end Cade Brewer for an eight yard score. After that point, Kansas scored the next 10 points to cut the Longhorn lead to 11 entering halftime. Herman experimented with a new kicker in senior Mitchell Becker, but his lone 44-yard attempt failed, and Texas was forced to go for it on fourth and medium from the fringe of normal field goal range for the rest of the evening. Toneil Carter

“The plan moving forward is what it is,” Herman said about his kickers. “We go back to

forced to go for it on fourth down, and a

“We’re just balling, having fun, playing for

the drawing board. We coach him. We try

stop by junior Malik Jefferson helped stop

each other,” Elliott said. “It starts up front.

to correct mistakes the best we can, and

the momentum the Jayhawks had been

D-line pressures the quarterback, of course

we go compete in the week of practice, and

building, part of his seven tackle day that

the ball is going to get thrown. His pick-six,

if the situation dictates itself, we’ll jog him

included 1.5 TFLs.

quarterback felt the pressure, threw it, and

out again and see if we haven’t corrected ourselves.”

we took it to the house.” Texas would take the ensuing drive 68 yards, capped off by a one yard rush by

Even though his team struggled against a

The Longhorns added seven points before

junior Chris Warren. The Jayhawks added

Kansas team whose last FBS victory came

halftime when they were faced with just 22

one more score, but after failing to retrieve

last year against Texas, Herman was not

yards between themselves and the goal

another onside kick, Herman sent in the

bothered that the win did not come as easy

line. Texas drove the ball to the one, and

backups to empty out the clock.

as he would have preferred.

ball in from the wildcat to give Texas a 35-

“I thought it was a tale of two halves for

“There’s no lack of confidence, or there’s

17 lead at the half.

both sides of the ball,” Herman said. “I’ve

no issue with perception,” Herman said.

sophomore Lil’Jordan Humphrey ran the

got to watch the film to figure out why. We

“Winning for us right now is going to be

The third quarter was woeful football for

were a bit inconsistent on defense in the

hard, and that’s okay. That’s okay as long

both teams. Kansas added three points

first half, obviously made some big plays

as we win.”

on a 49 yard drive, but aside from those

with a pick six, and then a pick there at the

3:44, neither team crafted a drive longer

end of the half.”

than 45 yards while starting from inside the minus-40 each drive.

“We’re down the home stretch here and we’ve got an opportunity to go on the road

The defense did improve, giving up just 10

and win us our fifth conference game,”

points in the second half and making up

Herman said. “Win our fifth conference

The fourth was not much of an improve-

for the offensive struggles. Junior DeShon

game and become bowl eligible, which is

ment in game quality, but it did have several

Elliott continued to prove he is deserving

an improvement and something that these

pivotal plays. After Buechele threw an

of being considered for the Thorpe Award

seniors truly deserve.”

interception with around 12 minutes left in

with seven tackles, two TFLs and a forced

the game, Kansas had an opportunity to cut


the deficit to one possession. They were



WHAT THEY SAID... TOM HERMAN “We’re down the home stretch here, and we’ve got an opportunity to go on


the road and win us our fifth conference

“It’s a great feeling to be out there with

game and become bowl eligible, which

this defense and this team. These guys

is an improvement and something that

fly around the field and I just want to be a

these seniors truly deserve.”

part of that. I don’t want to be a missing piece. I want to be a part of the puzzle.”

POONA FORD “The big difference for me is that everybody on the defense is a lot closer than it was in the past. I think that shows in how we play.”

42 - 27 18 113 258 5-17 1 29:37 24


19 96 268 7-19 3 30:23


by Tim Preston

Nothing represents the alluring talent (or infuriating struggles) like Texas’ two combo guards. Back and forth they went a year ago. Back and forth.

Andrew Jones

Photographs by Will Gallagher


Kerwin Roach


etween the two of them, they combined for 40 dou-

ble figure scoring games. Only half of those outputs came during the same contest (the Longhorns only

went 5-5 when they were both in double figures anyway).

Back and forth. Kerwin had 20 games with more assists than turnovers.

Andrew shot above 40% 20 times. Kerwin did so 12 times.

Only six of them were during the same game. Meaning that the other 20 instances were games where one’s efficient shooting was negated by the other’s inefficient shooting.

Back and forth.

Andrew had 19. Only eight of them were during the same


where one’s positive assist/turnover ratio was (at least par-

That’s the big question, obviously.

game, meaning that the other 23 instances were games

tially) negated by the other’s negative assist/turnover ratio.

Back and forth.

Why were they so unable to achieve success simultaneously?


- Back


Forth And vice versa for Kerwin when Andrew played point

Why the back and forth nature?


But the reality of last season is that ONE of them was al-

Point Guard/Combo Guard

ways going to be slotted in to that point guard role.

At the risk of oversimplifying, I have a theory; one I wrot and spoke of often last year.

Coleman, Osetkowski and Bamba

My belief is that both Kerwin and Andrew are above average

The impact of Coleman helps as he alleviates the ball han-


and Jones last year, but the introduction of Dylan and Mo

(perhaps well above, given the game/circumstance) combo

dling/playmaking pressure that bogged down both Roach should help equally.

My concurrent belief is that both Kerwin and Andrew are

below average (perhaps well below, given the game/circum-

Jarrett Allen, for all his skills/abilities was a low-to-midrange

It’s those parallels that, oddly enough, provide me with such

Shaq Cleare was even more limited, so the infusion of two

stance) point guards.

optimism moving into the upcoming season.

When Kerwin was able to play at the point guard position, Andrew slid into his more natural off-guard role where he could score/playmake in a less stressful/difficult role.


player who was best 8-feet and in.

bigs who not only can function away from the basket but also, especially in the case of Dylan, might be best used

away from the basket should be a huge help to Kerwin and Andrew.

This is because both arguably share their four best traits‌

- Back



Forth -

Straight-line penetration: whether as weakside players through skips/reversals or simply as an outlet/

secondary valve off of penetration elsewhere, both

Roach and Jones are quick twitch, one-dribble-then-elevate players. Maximizing their looks to get lane touches against a rotating defense is a winnable matchup most of the time for them both.


Passing from a static position with an open lane:

under the right circumstances, both players can pass the ball effectively. That circumstance tends to be

when they can find cutters/post entries when the floor is not congested.

All too often last year, half court sets were congested by two post defenders and whatever guard could help be-

cause they needn’t fear penetration and corner dishes. This year, with the perimeter ability of all of Osetkowski, Bamba and Sims, that lane should be far more open. That should cut down turnovers for them both while also getting Texas some easy looks at the basket in halfcourt situations.


Run, Run, Run: there aren’t but a handful of players in the country who are more explosive and capable on the break than Kerwin Roach. Andrew Jones is

one of them.

Whether it be through live ball turnovers, long rebounds or simply beating the other team up the floor, the combina-

and Andrew into defensive sets where they can play lanes

matched in the Big 12, and probably not anywhere. The

fensive success.

and pick up live ball turnovers will be a big key to their of-

tion of speed and explosiveness they both bring can’t be question is maximizing that whenever you can while also

putting them both in situations where they have one read: Attack.

The Endgame

They need to be the finishers or making the easy pass

Do they end up being Big 12 caliber players?

to the finisher to cut down on needless turnovers on the

Do they maddeningly not reach their potential?

significant upgrade.

Would either really surprise anybody?

break. If Coleman brings little else than that, it’ll still be a


Pesky defense: length, speed, lateral agility, explo-

Shaka’s put together a roster that has the potential to bring

lanes; these are the benefits that both can bring on


sive close outs, instinctive understandings of passing

the defensive end. All aided by a 6’11 freshman who should

Texas back to the discussion of teams to watch during

lead the Big 12 in blocks this season.

But Kerwin and Andrew hold the keys.

Obviously, we need for them not to foul, but getting Kerwin

Fingers crossed.



MORGANTOWN, WV — Texas entered the game at No. 24 West Virginia winless in 2017 against ranked opponents. Stopping WVU quarterback Will Grier was a tough task, but Texas had its own difference maker on the offensive side of the ball in junior Connor Williams, back for the first time since USC. 30



Photographs by Will Gallagher



exas rushed for more than 230 yards behind an invigorated

him and knocked the ball out of Grier’s hands. Not only did the hit

offensive line and held the potent Mountaineer offense in

injure Grier’s hand to where he could not return, but the ball also

check after WVU quarterback Will Grier’s injury to earn

went out of the end zone for a touchback and a huge stop for Todd

bowl eligibility in a 28-14 win.

Orlando’s defense.

“Excited to see our plan be executed really for what feels like the

Grier would be replaced by Chris Chugunov after a short 6-for-8

first time this season, maybe (since) the Kansas State game,” head

outing for 50 yards.

coach Tom Herman said. “I feel like we played a fairly complete Immediately following the stop, Herman and offensive coordinator

game in that one too.’”

Tim Beck elected to replace Shane Buechele with freshman Sam “For our defense, and I know their quarterback went out in the first

Ehlinger at quarterback. Buechele finished just 4-for-7 for 28 yards

quarter, and that’s a shame because he’s a heck of a player, they

in his limited play. Ehlinger’s first drive was a three and out, but the freshman started to play at a high level in the second quarter. Amidst a spell of torrential rain, Ehlinger sent a deep pass to freshman Reggie Hemphill-Mapps to start the second 15 minutes. Hemphill-Mapps made the reception, and moved to the WVU 20 for a 50-yard gain. “Reggie said he couldn’t find it for a little bit because it was raining so hard,” Ehlinger said. “It was a little boost to our offense to know that it was pouring and we can still throw the ball for 50 yards. We can do whatever we want this game.” A few plays later on third and goal, Ehlinger found transfer tight end Kendall Moore for a touchdown, Moore’s first reception as a

Reggie Hemphill-Mapps


had some wide outs make some unbelievable catches but I thought

“It was extremely humbling and fulfilling because I know that I trans-

our defense, to hold them to zero points offensively until midway

ferred and we’ve had a long road of ups and downs this season,”

through the fourth quarter was definitely something that kept us in

Moore said. “It was a next man up mentality.”

the game.” The Longhorns stopped the Mountaineers on the next drive, and The first quarter in Morgantown was relatively mundane, with one

got the ball back on its own 13. Facing third and nine, the Moun-

Mountaineer drive midway through the lone exception. West Vir-

taineers sent a one-man rush that got past Kyle Porter. Ehlinger

ginia drove the ball thanks to a questionable personal foul penalty

evaded the rusher and made his way 17 yards for the first down to

against junior Davante Davis, followed by a long pass to the Long-

continue the drive.

horn 22. WVU matriculated the ball to the one, and attempted to put Beck dialed up some trickery on the next play, handing the ball off

six on the board with a dash by Grier to the left pylon.

to junior Jerrod Heard. Heard threw the ball back to Ehlinger who As Grier was extending the ball, sophomore Brandon Jones met


worked his way to the WVU 31 for a 23-yard reception. A few plays


later, Ehlinger found running-back-turned-tight-end Chris Warren for

“Honestly, it was a busted coverage and I wasn’t supposed to be

a 20-yard touchdown to take a 14-0 lead.

over there,” Elliott said. “I was like ‘whoa, what’s going on?’ I just went over there, tried to make a play on the ball, and I did.”

Texas’ two first half scoring drives went for 21 plays, 178 yards and took 10:33 off of the clock, two drives that revealed just how

West Virginia appeared to sputter out on their second drive of the

important the presence of Connor Williams is for the 2017 Longhorn

fourth quarter, but they were given another chance when junior


linebacker Breckyn Hager was ejected for targeting.

“I would be silly not to say that didn’t matter,” Herman said. “It certainly did. I thought the plan was a good plan. I thought our backs knew where to go and how to go there. You’ve got a guy who was a first team All-American last year as a sophomore coming back on the left side of that line. That’s a big boost, a big shot in the arm.” Both teams exchanged punts to begin the second half. On Texas’ second series, the Longhorns only had to manage one third down, which was converted by a 17-yard rush by Ehlinger. The next play, Ehlinger rolled left and was hurried and wrapped up by WVU’s Dylan Tonkery. Ehlinger tried too hard to make a play, and, as he was falling to the ground, tossed a duck that West Virginia’s Kenny Robison took back 94 yards for WVU’s first score of the game, making it 14-7. “I was trying to throw it away and avoid the sack down on the goal line,” Ehlinger said. “Just a stupid mistake, I’ve got to eat that. Can’t make a play on every single one.” The pick six energized the announced crowd of 53,133, and Texas could not come back in the next series with a score. WVU failed to get anything going even with the crowd on their side, and punted the ball to set up Texas’ next drive.

Kris Boyd (2), DeShon Elliott (4) and Jason Hall (31)

After Hemphill-Mapps brought the ball to the WVU side of the 50, freshman Daniel Young ran 36 yards to put the ball on the Mountaineer 10, the longest run of his 12 carries totaling 85 yards. The

Hager appeared to have been grabbed by his facemask, but the

next play, sophomore Kyle Porter ran around the left side for the

only penalty on the play was charged to the Westlake junior.

10 yard score to give the Longhorns a two score advantage once Without one of their better defensive players of late, WVU was able


to complete a drive that resulted in a touchdown, cutting the deficit One of the pivotal plays of the game came at the beginning of the

to seven with nine minutes to go.

fourth quarter. On fourth and nine, Chugunov looked to find Gary Jennings in the end zone, but an incredible play by DeShon Elliott

Junior punter Michael Dickson had another great day despite the

to knock the ball away before it reached its target kept Texas’ two

poor kicking conditions, but his shortest punt proved to be the most

score lead.

valuable. Dickson sent an end-over-end punt 35 yards that junior Kris Boyd caught at the Mountaineer four with just 7:26 left.



The Mountaineers had one more drive but couldn’t score, and The Mountaineers didn’t seem too perturbed early on by their poor

Texas ran the clock out to secure its all-important, bowl eligibility

field position, moving to the Texas 20.

securing victory.

But on third and 10, sophomore Malcolm Roach grabbed on to

“To be able to say that we’ve reached one of our goals this season

Chugunov, and junior Gary Johnson delivered the hit that knocked

from an external perspective — I think we’ve reached a lot of our

Holton Hill

the ball out of his hands. Junior Chris Nelson was on hand to

goals internally in the way that we handle our business and the way

recover the fumble, giving Texas the shortest of fields.

that we play and the way that we compete each and every week,” Herman said. “These guys are ecstatic, but they also know they’ve

Two plays later, Young was in the end zone for his lone and Texas’

got one left.”

fourth touchdown. Young’s effort was part of a 42-carry, 233-yard, two touchdown effort from Texas rushers on 5.5 yards per carry.


WHAT THEY SAID... MALIK JEFFERSON “It’s one of the harder trips I’ll say that for sure. My first time going to Morgantown was a little bit different. When I was a freshman I was excited, but realizing there’s not much there, it’s a hard environment and a mountain,


didn’t know that. Very crazy. But the atmosphere, they’re very tough. Especially going to West Virginia.”


“When we have Connor Williams that makes a difference in the run game. Hats off to Tim Beck and the offensive staff.”

“I mean just have to keep preparing. I had to be ready when my number was called and help my teammates when I was called up. Things happen and you have to be ready. I had to make sure I knew my stuff.”

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17 56 239 4-16 2 27:26


- Elite College Coaching Jobs -

Kraken_Texas_mechanical.indd 1

5/19/11 2:17:09 PM


Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and after the Texas Longhorns’ first drive against Texas Tech, it appeared as if the smoke was emanating from the Red Raiders’ side of the ball. As the second half progressed, it became evident that the smoke was not coming from the red and black defense, but rather from the burnt orange and white offense. 38


Armanti Foreman


Photos by Will Gallagher



hough smoldering, the Longhorns’ O managed to put up 23

switch route, if he popped we’d hit him and pretty much end the

points before a late third and two that if Texas converted,

game. If not, felt like Sam was doing a really good job scrambling,

likely would have sealed the game. Rather than attempting

and that he would scramble and try to get us the first. We’ve got

to run the ball, offensive coordinator Tim Beck called a pass play,

to do a better job coaching in those end of game scenarios how to

and freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger was intercepted trying to

handle that.”

throw across his body, fully placing Texas’ offensive performance in the “fiery disaster” category.

The multiple interceptions at the end of the game were the knockout blows to a Texas team that thought it had a lot of momentum

Tech brought the ball back inside the Texas red zone, and scored

leaving Morgantown last week. Aside from junior punter Michael

after two plays to take a 27-23 lead. Given one last chance, Eh-

Dickson, who boomed 9 punts for an average of 50.9 yards and

linger threw his second interception and Texas Tech sealed the vic-

had seven downed inside the 20, the team left that momentum,

tory, bowl eligibility, and head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s job next year.

juice, or whatever it was in the locker room in Milan Puskar Stadium.

“You want to learn from your mistakes and never let them happen again, especially crucial ones like that,” Ehlinger said. “For it to hap-

“I think I’m still disappointed with a couple of punts today that I

pen again, and let the team down again, it’s awful.”

thought I could’ve had inside the 20,” Dickson said about his performance. “I feel like I’m always just trying to improve and not thinking about how good I am.” It looked promising early, too. On the first drive, Texas drove 75 yards in four plays, ending with a 27 yard pass over the middle to senior Armanti Foreman for an opening drive touchdown. However, Texas Tech kept at it with backup QB McLane Carter playing in place of Nic Shimonek. Carter scored the first TD on a one yard run late in the first quarter. Texas preceded that drive with two punts, and succeeded it with another punt and a Joshua Rowland 20 yard field goal to tie it at 10. The Red Raiders gifted Texas their Sam Ehlinger

second and final touchdown after junior Kris Boyd intercepted his former Gilmer

High School teammate in Carter and returned the ball all the way Texas just needed two yards to likely get a seventh win, but Beck

to the Texas Tech nine. On the first ensuing play from scrimmage,

and head coach Tom Herman made the decision to go through the

freshman Daniel Young rushed the ball into the end zone to give

air. Herman offered his reasoning after the game.

Texas a 17-10 lead.

“We weren’t running the ball very well regardless of down and

Texas took slight advantage of another Carter interception by junior

distance,” Herman said. “We felt like in man coverage, ran a little

Davante Davis with less than a minute remaining in the first half.



The Longhorns moved the ball to a first and goal from the one, but

“You prepare all week to make sure that schematically we line up

could not punch the ball in against the Red Raiders and had to

and play hard, of course,” Jefferson said. “To come short, it’s super

settle for a 19-yard field goal making it 20-10.

frustrating. Guys understand what was at risk at the beginning of the game and throughout the whole game, and I think it’s just

Following halftime, every Texas drive that began and ended in the third quarter was finished off with a Dickson punt with the exception of one that ended with a fumble by freshman Toneil Carter. Texas’ last scoring drive of the game crossed into the final quarter, and Rowland ended it by nailing a 40yard field goal to give the Longhorns another 10 point lead. Those three points would be Texas’ only scoring in the second half. TTU responded on the very next drive with a touchdown after Kingsbury sent in Shimonek to replace Carter. Shimonek found former Texas commit and Texas Tech wide receiver Keke Coutee for a 52 yard gain to the Texas 10. Two plays later,

Malcolm Roach

Shimonek hit T.J. Vasher to bring it within three.

mistakes that we keep shooting ourselves in the foot on both sides The next four drives ended in punts before the Longhorn drive that

of the ball.”

ended in the pivotal interception. Jefferson did not participate in any senior day activities, but juniors Ehlinger ended the game 26-of-47 for 239 yards, one score and two

Terrell Cuney and Jake McMillon did. Herman said postgame he

interceptions. Sophomore Shane Buechele played one series in the

did not know if McMillon had finalized his decision to leave yet, but

first quarter going 2-of-2 for 6 yards before returning to the bench.

believed Cuney had. McMillon and Dickson declined to comment about their futures, and Jefferson said he had not made a decision

In what could possibly have been his final home game, junior Malik


Jefferson put together another stat-sheet filling performance with 10 tackles and one QBH. In addition to his interception, Boyd added

Herman said the team won’t practice until this Friday in order to

five pass break ups to go with junior DeShon Elliott’s four against

rest and to focus on academics. After that, bowl preparation begins

one of the most potent passing offenses in the country.

though the Longhorns don’t quite know which bowl they are headed to.

After the game, it was easy to see and hear how much this loss affected Jefferson, who along with other members of his 2015 class,

Even so, he knows he has to prepare and said he is looking forward

endured three tough seasons in Austin.

to the chance to earning a winning record.




MICHAEL DICKSON “I think I’m still disappointed with a couple of punts today that I thought I could’ve had inside the 20. I feel like I’m always just trying to improve and not thinking about how good I am.”

“We’re not at a point right now in our program’s development where we can over-

LORENZO JOE “We started off strong and

come four turnovers in one half and expect

then we started making

to win a football game, regardless of who

mistakes and shooting

we’re playing.”

ourselves in the foot... It was a tough one for us seniors, but luckily we have one more game to go, so we have to keep our heads up and keep working.”

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“We have an opportunity to go play in a bowl game for the first time in three years here,” Herman said. “We are dead set in making it our mission in life to make sure that these seniors go out with a positive experience, with a win in the bowl game, wherever that may be. That sets us up with some momentum heading into the off-season.”


Inside Texas 2017 November  
Inside Texas 2017 November  

We recap the final month of the season, plus features on Gary Johnson, the need for a running game in 2018, and a feature on Kerwin Roach an...