AUSTIN (KXAN)– The first thing to know about Saturday’s Orange-White Spring Scrimmage at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium is that its the 15th and final practice allowed by the NCAA when it comes to spring practice. The next thing to know is that the biggest concern will be staying healthy.
The Orange-White game is more of a celebration as fans can get into the stadium and see the Longohrns in person for free. Unlike the last several years, there is no doubt about UT’s starting quarterback.
Sam Ehlinger has established himself as the clear cut leader of the offense after a huge sophomore season, passing for 3,292 yards with 25 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Ehlinger also rushed for 16 touchdowns. The battle is for the backup and redshirt freshman Casey Thompson and early enrollee Roschon Johnson should both see significant playing time on Saturday.
One of the biggest story lines in spring practice has been early enrollee Jordan Whittington from Cuero has been moved from receiver to running back. Offensive coordinator Tim Beck called him the biggest surprise of camp on the offense.
“Really smart football player,” Beck said. “His savvy is a lot like L.J. (Humphrey) but he’s faster, much faster. He can play a lot of positions. He understands the game. He’s a quick learn. You have to show him or teach him once and he gets it. He’s very dynamic with the ball in his hands.”
Another early enrollee to watch is receiver Bru McCoy. McCoy will seek a waiver to be eligible this season after transferring from USC. McCoy is regarded as one of the best incoming freshmen in the nation. The competition at receiver will be as fierce as any position group.
Redshirt freshman Malcolm Epps has received a lot of attention during spring practice. He has the body of a tight end at 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds but has the speed to play wide receiver.
On the defensive side of the ball is where the Horns have really been hit with injuries. One player to keep an eye on his linebacker Joseph Ossai.The sophomore linebacker led Texas with eight tackles in the Sugar Bowl win over Georgia.
For Tom Herman and the coaching staff, they want to see their guys play hard, protect the football, and avoid penalties.
“The old coach’s line, ‘It’s never as bad or as good as you think it is,'” Herman said after Saturday’s second scrimmage.”It’s hard in the spring. One side has success — it means you’re wondering what happened on the other side. A bit of a double edged sword as a coach. We’ve got enough talent on both sides of the ball to be a good football team, but we’ve got to correct some of these mistakes.”
While the players will turn their attention to offseason workouts and academics, the coaching staff will get back to work following the spring game to take that next step towards the 2019 season and that opener against Louisiana Tech on Sept. 1.