5 Biggest Impacts of No Longhorns Spring Football

5 Biggest Impacts of No Longhorns Spring Football
USA TODAY

Aside from the sadness of no Texas Longhorns football this spring (all activities including more than 10 people have been canceled through at least May 1), there are potential bigger impacts on the program.

The Dallas Morning News published its five biggest issues facing Texas football during this unprecedented hiatus. We’ll look at each and include our thoughts.

Here is the original projected spring football depth chart.

Lack of reps for players at new positions

Herman announced three key position changes for three Longhorns in early February. Former running back Jordan Whittington was moved to the slot after recovering from a sports hernia injury for the majority of his freshman season, while Malcolm Epps was moved from wide receiver to tight end and DeMarvion Overshown is transitioning to linebacker. With the future as uncertain as it is, there’s no telling when these players will get to fully transition into their new positions.

TEXAS HORNS FANS TAKE: This one is pretty obvious, but definitely the biggest overall issue. Still, it’s the biggest issue for every other team in the same situation.

With so many new coaches and key position changes, you have to think that many plans the coaches wanted to implement will have to be scrapped, while others will have to be learned and implemented at a much faster rate. 

Herman’s new coaching staff loses opportunity to familiarize with players

Tom Herman replaced seven assistants in the three months following the regular season finale, which isn’t exactly ideal given the circumstances. Herman’s decision to clean house was seen as every head coach’s “Get Out of Jail Free Card,” all to say: Herman put plenty of pressure on himself by making several moves after the 2019 season. Now, this new staff not only has to operate in an unprecedented situation, but without all of the players who are currently off campus.

TEXAS HORNS FANS TAKE: This ties right with the first one on not getting enough reps. Tom Herman certainly overhauled the coaching staff, which creates so many new relationships and requires trust-building. This is invaluable for team unity.

Many players, especially freshmen, haven’t even met these new coaches.

Herman even sought out advice from other programs that underwent major coaching overhauls. For now, that guidance can only be partially implemented. 

Running back competition put on halt

Texas’ situation at running back was already interesting, and that was before the postponement of spring ball. Now, rather than Keaontay Ingram and Roschon Johnson battling head-to-head, this break will likely lead up until 5-star back Bijan Robinson, who didn’t enroll early, arrives in Austin. It may be hard to picture what August let alone the rest of fall will look like, but whenever Texas football returns we will likely see an epic battle between Ingram, Roschon and Robinson.

TEXAS HORNS FANS TAKE: Not sure this is a major issue. Keontay Ingram has proven to be the best back on the team when healthy (fight me on it in the comments!). Plus, Roschon Johnson more than proved to be a capable backup and a solid starter.

Freshman five-star RB Bijan Johnson wasn’t even on campus this spring anyway, so he wasn’t going to compete with the group until fall.

That just leaves Derrian Brown and Daniel Young, which is still important reps, but not really for competition.

In a stacked DB room, Longhorn secondary is deprived of spring battle

Aside from safety B.J. Foster, who was expected to miss spring ball as he recovered from shoulder surgery, this abrupt break now deprives the Texas secondary of much-needed practices to sort out who will get the most reps in the Longhorn secondary for the 2020 season. There isn’t a shortage of talent in the Longhorn secondary by any means, though there is a shortage of time to sort the depth chart out.

TEXAS HORNS FANS TAKE: YES! Unlike the running backs, this group certainly needs as much competition as it can get to see who evolves and deserves starting roles.

B.J. Foster will be a starter anyway, as will Kaden Sterns. D’Shawn Jamison, Jalen Green, Anthony Cook will be an interesting battle. Chris Brown made a big impact when healthy.

Youngsters such as Chris Adimora, Tyler Owens and Kenyatta Watson also need valuable time developing.

Let’s also factor in adjusting to a new defensive coordinator and new corner backs coach. 

Sam Ehlinger loses time to build chemistry with new receivers

Sam Ehlinger lost two of his favorite wide receivers as Devin Duvernay and Collin Johnson head to the NFL. The presence of Duvernay and Johnson translated to a combined 144 receptions, 1,945 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. This leaves Ehlinger with Brennan Eagles and Jake Smith along with Jordan Whittington in the slot and Cade Brewer, Reese Leitao and Malcolm Epps at tight end. There is more than enough talent here for a senior quarterback to put up massive numbers, but how will this hiatus affect the timing between Ehlinger and this new receiving core?

TEXAS HORNS FANS TAKE: Losing senior captains Collin Johnson and Devin Duvernay is a big deal at receiver.

Yes, Johnson missed nearly half the season, but you can’t downplay the importance of leadership and Sam’s confidence.

Brennan Eagles and Jake Smith shined at times last season, but the addition of Jordan Whittington just adds more need for building QB/WR chemistry.

Even if the season starts as scheduled, there are a lot of moving parts here. New OC Mike Yurcich is a pass-focused coach, so this dynamic is certainly critical in the overall plans for the offense.

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