Texas coach Tom Herman on season opening win and upcoming conference schedule

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Longhorns have a bye week on the schedule after opening the season Saturday with a 59-3 win over UTEP.

With the Big 12’s 10-game schedule, the Longhorns will have three bye weeks during the 2020 season as the leagues prepares for any potential rescheduling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Longhorns head coach Tom Herman met with the media Monday to look back on the dominant win over the Miners and ahead as the Longhorns refocus toward the conference schedule.

Opening Statement

“Really proud that we made it to the game and executed within the game as we did. Our goal was not to get to one game. Our goal is to win championships and that game is whatever it is…one out of 13 is 7%. I’m sure we’ll have ups and downs and roadblocks along the way. I was really proud.”

Injury Report

Jordan Whittington – lateral meniscus tear (out 3 to 4 weeks)
Josh Thompson – ear laceration (stitches)
Ayodele Adeoye- held out of UTEP game for precautionary reasons
Jake Smith- rehab for hamstring injury is going well

Ehlinger critical of his performance

“Anytime you throw for 424 yards in a half and five touchdowns, you’re not going to be disappointed. I can see why he said what he said because there were some misreads, but only a couple compared to the numerous great throws and reads.”

On Safety BJ Foster on frustrations/reports of leaving team

“BJ obviously let his frustrations get the best of him. He was very contrite. We’ll handle the discipline in house. He knows what he did was wrong. It’s OK to be frustrated but let it get the best of him. It will be water under the bridge.”

On running game and offensive line performance

“Just OK. I thought the running backs ran well. We feel really good about our three tailbacks and we wanted to make sure a lot of these receivers playing their first game or playing for the first time. We wanted to make sure those guys got on track so it was a pretty big emphasis early in the game. The run game was just OK. You could tell the o-line was a little bit rusty but I’m confident the small details that might have made a five yard gain a 12-yard gain those are easily correctable. As far as the right side, they played just fine. Christian had a three play series where he struggled a little bit but other than those three plays I thought he played pretty well for his first start.”

On game plan to spread the ball around

“I don’t think you ever go in and say we want seven receivers to catch touchdown passes, 10 guys to catch passes. We’ve got a bunch of guys that deserve to play at wide receiver so I do think you’re going to see more guys with a catch or two. Every week’s game plan is a little different. I’m excited knowing that we have six, seven guys that deserve to play and deserve to play quite regularly but there’s only one ball. There’s a lot of variables that go into it.”

On fast start for offense and receivers

“Credit to Coach Yurcich and the offensive staff for making that a big emphasis early in the game. I think it’s a really good sign. I don’t know that we’ve got maybe the one or two dominant players that we did in the past. We’ll adjust to the six or seven really good players. The defense will tell us where the ball goes. We’ve got a really good reader of defenses in Sam Ehlinger. We have confidence in our receivers that they’ll get open and they’ll make the play.”

On performance of defensive line

“Joseph Ossai was our co-defensive player of the game with DeMarvion Overshown. Joseph had a great game in terms of making stops, making tackles, being in the right place at the right time. We’ve got some depth issues on the edge with having to move Reese Leitao to end, away from the jack position that he’d been playing. The crew that I’ve been very impressed with are the inside guys. To say that we’re too deep is probably an understatement.”

On freshman Alfred Collins

“He did a few things in terms of missed assignments and improper technique but you certainly felt his presence throughout the game.”

On the unique schedule with multiple bye weeks

“They’re critical. We had a very unique training camp. We didn’t do a whole lot of physical work for the interest of player safety. We missed a couple practices too. This week is going to be almost an extension of training camp. We kind of had a scrimmage against another opponent for lack of a better term against another opponent. We take a deep breath. We’ll work against Texas Tech looks later in the week. I think Tuesday and Wednesday are kind of an extension of training camp. This week will be a little different than a normal bye week because we’ve got so much work that was left undone from training camp that we’ve still got to get some quality reps with our guys.”

On walk-on receiver Kai Money’s name and his performance

I thought it was made up too when we first met but that’s his real name. Kai Money, he was certainly the personification of his last name Saturday night so that was good. I think Kai has proven he’s a guy that can really help us. If certain instances dictate, we have no problem putting him in the game and knowing he will contribute.”

On grad transfer receivers

“Full immersion in the offense. Andre Coleman and the offensive staff did a great job with him. But the credit goes to Brenden (Schooler) and his commitment level to being game ready by the first game. When you’re a grad transfer you’ve got a lot time to study the playbook get with the coach and watch a ton of film. Let’s not downplay the fact that Brenden is a very smart guy too. He’s played a lot of football. That’s one thing when you get grad transfers from Oregon and Michigan they’ve played at the highest level…and on some big staged. That is a big time plus.”

On re-focusing after opening win

“The veterans were all here last year when we beat Louisiana Tech…we’re extremely mature that realizes this is one game against a non-conference opponent. It allowed us to work at full speed but I think we all know that we’re going to be in some serious dogfights throughout the remainder of the season and have a lot of work to do.”

Proud of effort against UTEP

“The effort level with everything going on in the world, with the offseason being what it was, with only 20-25% fans in the stands, with it being a non-conference game..it had all the makings of a slow start. I bit of needing to kick guys in the butt metaphorically and we didn’t. It was the opposite. Our guys came out with a lot of energy, passion and intensity and it showed. We reaped the benefits of it as a program. Not only are the coaches proud but the players are proud and are very aware of what they’re capable of if they play at this level of intensity and passion. We’ve got a ton of little details to fix, but had we played with poor effort that would’ve been a tough ask to fix that. We didn’t, we played with great effort, we tackled well.”

On UT walk-on program

“It’s extremely important. We invest a ton. We were surprised at what kind of shape it was in…it was not in very good shape. I credit Mike Perrin a lot to stress how important getting quality walk-ons was. It’s pretty cool to see one guy start his second game in a row in Cort Jaquess and obviously Jett Bush made a ton of plays and Kai Money to be the first walk-on to score an offensive touchdown in 15 years…I think we’re heading in the right direction.”

On differences in tackling technique

“Really good. It’s not any different than how we were teaching it. We’re just teaching it better. We spend time tackling every day…we’re going to do some kind of tackling drill every day.”

State of program ready to compete for championships

“We’ve recruited at a pretty high level over the last three years and this is what happens when you recruit and develop at the level we have. You’re going to have multiple guys at multiple positions that are capable of going in and playing at a championship level. I’m really excited to see that three-man rotation that we have at safety with Montrell Estell, Tyler Owens and Jerrin Thompson. I’m excited to see the four-man rotation at corner. I think you’re going to see quite a few linebackers play. We’re slowly but surely getting to the point where you feel good..especially on defense. It’s going to pay huge dividends in the course of a game and the amount of wear and tear on a young man’s body. I think that kind of depth helps at the end of the season as we unfortunately found out last year. Hopefully we won’t be in that situation this season.”

More on state of the program

“We feel like we’re doing what we’re supposed to do at Texas. We recruit at a very high level, a level compared to the elite teams in college football and develop them. You’re finally seeing what we’ve been talking about for four years that it takes time. We’re certainly not a finished product. We played one game against a non-conference opponent so we are very confident in ourselves but I also don’t want 59-3 against UTEP to be the high water mark. I think we all know that the game could’ve gone different and I think the game went was sign that we’re heading in the right direction. We’ve got to keep going. We’ve got a lot of room for improvement. When you take over at a program that was in a place that it was when we took it over, in order to build a sustainable championship caliber program and roster it’s going to take time. You keep plugging away and you plug away. We like where we’re headed. We haven’t done anything yet, but win a non-conference game. I think everybody sees the progression. We understand that progress is being made and we’re excited with where we’re at.”

On players staying focused and safe during COVID-19 pandemic

“Really confident. I may wake up tomorrow and it bite me in the…you know what. When I look around and read the news about what other teams are dealing with across the country. I tell our guys everyday how proud I am on them and it’s them. We’re educating and telling them to be diligent, but I’m sure other coaching staffs are saying the same thing across the country. Doing it is the hard part, it is so inconvenient that these guys have to do and it’s going to be difficult. Even more difficult. I’m extremely confident knowing what I’ve seen over the last six or seven weeks.”

On freshman quarterback Ja’Quinden Jackson

“He is medically available. I would think JJ would be the first to tell you he’s not quite there yet from a confidence standpoint to go out and do the things that he does well. I think we’ll play that as it goes and judge it. He had a great day yesterday in seven on seven. We’re easing him into having bodies around him. It’s kind of a free year when it comes to eligibility. I’d like to get JJ into a game at some point, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”

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