When the college football season begins, Texas Longhorns fans will see a new face coaching the team. After three years of underperformance mixed with some over-hype, Charlie Strong was given his walking papers.
Add the success of the coaches with their previous teams to the depth that Texas has at key positions; the end result may pleasantly surprise both fans and coaches. Additionally, the Longhorns have key experienced players returning. In fact, on offense, the only player who left for the NFL draft was DeOnta Foreman.
Assessing The Returning Texas Longhorn Players
Offensive Personnel: Shane Buechele returns at quarterback after throwing for nearly 3,000 yards and 21 touchdowns as a freshman. Fans and coaches alike, have found that he is reliable despite his struggles toward the end of his freshman year. To go along with Buechele, the combination of Chris Warren III and Kyle Porter gives Texas a decent backfield capable of getting the job done.
Texas is deep at wide receiver and returns its top three options from last season in Armanti Foreman, Devin Duvernay and Dorian Leonard, a trio that combined for more than 1,200 yards and nine touchdowns. Offensive Line looks as though it could be the Longhorns most pressing situation coming into the season.
Defensive Personnel: The Texas Longhorns return 10 starters from a defense that was 94th in the country in yards allowed per game, which could be a good or bad thing. The good news is it brings experience and cohesiveness to the unit. The bad news is this Longhorns defense was torched for much of the season. Texas returns its top eight tacklers from last season, including Breckyn Hager and Malik Jefferson, a duo that combined for more than 120 tackles and 11.5 sacks.
Anthony Wheeler will anchor down a talented group of linebackers and Malcolm Roach should be able to build on what was a successful freshman season. Cornerback John Bonney has improved each season he’s been on the team, and safety Jason Hall has been very effective when he’s not injured. There’s a lot to like with this group now that there’s more experience and with a coach like Herman who brings energy and confidence, this should be one of the more improved defenses in the country given how bad it was last season.
Special Teams Personnel: Michael Dickson returns at punter after averaging 47.3 yards on 65 attempts. Josh Rowland is expected to replace Trent Domingue at kicker.
Final Thoughts On Tom Herman: There’s only two schools that return more starters than Texas, and let’s not forget the Longhorns had their moments last season when beating a highly ranked Notre Dame, Baylor and going toe-to-toe with Oklahoma. It’s no secret Texas is talented and with the right coach can do some serious damage.
Sept. 2: vs. Maryland:
Sept. 9: vs. San Jose State:
Sept. 16: at USC:
Sept. 23: BYE
Sept. 28: at Iowa State (Thursday):
Oct. 7: vs. Kansas State:
Oct. 14: vs. Oklahoma (Dallas):
Oct. 21: vs. Oklahoma State:
Oct. 28: at Baylor:
Nov. 4: at TCU:
Nov. 11: vs. Kansas:
Nov. 18: at West Virginia:
Nov. 24: vs. Texas Tech (Friday):
Dec. 2: Big 12 championship game (If Possible):