AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Longhorns are fresh after the week off the schedule, but injuries are still a question mark heading into a match-up with West Virginia Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Morgantown.
The Longhorns have been hit hard by injuries in the secondary. However, it’s possible that several key players could return this week.
The Mountaineers, under new head coach Neal Brown, are 3-1 this season after a 29-24 win at Kansas, and 2-0 at home at Milan-Puskar Stadium.
West Virginia leads the overall series against Texas, 5-3. The Longhorns won 28-14 in their last trip to Morgantown in 2017, but West Virginia won last season’s meeting 42-41 in Austin.
Texas coach Tom Herman met with the media Monday to dissect the upcoming game with West Virginia.
“Nice to have the week off..always good to go into the bye with a win under your belt. Practiced yesterday…normal game week schedule this week. Pleased how we handled the open date…we got our developmental guys 60-70 snaps of scrimmage work.”
B.J. Foster- practiced Sunday (probable)
Collin Johnson- will try to practice Tuesday (questionable)
DeMarvion Overshown- will try to practice Tuesday (questionable)
Jordan Whittington- not expected to be cleared this week
On depth at secondary:
“I don’t know if it’s a ‘hold the fort’ mentality. We’ve got Chris Brown, we’ve got Brandon Jones…those were our two playmakers through the first four weeks. We’re going to miss those guys for the length of time they’re out, but we’re pretty confident in the guys we’ll be rolling out.”
Playing to your own standard and going on the road:
“A lot of these young guys, it will be the first time getting on a plane for a game. That venue is a very difficult one to play in, but at the end of the day it’s football. When it’s kicked off, where you’re playing the game is irrelevant. Letting the location affect the way you play is a choice.”
On West Virginia and coach Neal Brown:
“I’ve got a lot of respect for coach Brown. The one thing that jumps off the film is they’re playing really hard and physical. What they do in the secondary is unique so it will be a good test on both sides of the ball.”
On handling with prosperity:
“I think all the lessons learned from last year’s team…there are a lot of good lessons to take from last year’s team. We’re not far enough along in a development of our program to have a sense to enjoy prosperity. It’s unfathomable to me right now that anyone in this program could feel anything resembling comfortability.”
Developmental guys who have impressed:
“I’ve been impressed with the way David Gbenda runs and hits. Myron Warren has a good future here. Tyler Johnson has improved a lot since the spring. Kennedy Lewis has had a good couple weeks with the scout team.”
On rising to road occasion:
“We’re 6-2 in true road games since we joined the conference. Our team has found ways. The routine of being at home certainly helps, but I feel our guys do as good a job of tuning out the distraction and just focusing on their job.”
What Herman knows about his team:
“I know we can stop the run. I know that our quarterback is as good as there is in the country at managing the game and getting us into good plays. I’d like to see us defend the pass better. Some consistency in the run game. We’ve had back-to-back weeks where we felt pretty good about it.”
On West Virginia QB Austin Kendall:
“He’s very savvy, the ball comes out quick. He’s fun to watch…a good player.”
On West Virginia coaching styles from Holgerson to Brown:
“We’ve played so much football since the last time we played West Virginia. I don’t even remember a whole lot of what they did offensively. Both coaches made a big commitment to the run game. Other than that, to compare the two teams…I have no idea…I don’t remember a lot of last year’s West Virginia team.”
On defensive tackle Keondre Coburn:
“I love the way the kid comes to work everyday. He’s got two speeds — full and off. His demeanor and his likeability…I told him the other day that if he takes care of business off the field. I can certainly see a scenario where that guy will be a captain here. The previous two nose guard’s have been captains.”
On improving offensive tendencies during bye week:
“We’ve tweaked things. Things we’re good at…we’ll find new and creative ways to do that.