Tom Herman post-practice quotes – 8/2/17

Jerrod Heard. (Will Gallagher/IT)

Jerrod Heard. (Will Gallagher/IT)

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Day three means the shoulder pads can come on before the team goes fully padded on Friday. Here’s what Herman had to say today concerning quarterback, running back, Malik Jefferson, Jerrod Heard and the locker room.

Herman’s opening statement:
 “Not much to report other than it was good to put the shoulder pads on, obviously. With no leg pads, we couldn’t tackle but we could fit up blocks a lot better and play above the waist the way the game is supposed to. Guys went really hard. We’re being fairly conservative in terms of the length of practice. This is a little bit shorter than what we’re used to, but again, this is a five week marathon to get to the first game. We want to make sure that we don’t empty the tank and not have anything left for the couple weeks that we’re going to prepare to win a game. Thought it was good. The kids responded and came out. Tonight, barring any issues between now and our team meeting at, whatever it is, 7 o’ clock, something like that, if there’s no issues then the guys will see their locker room for the first time and tomorrow morning, when they get here at 5:30, that’s where they’ll change and where all their stuff will be.”

On if he saw the change he wanted to when shoulder pads came on: “Yeah, I did. I thought our guys responded well. That’s a different weight that they’re carrying. That’s why you have the climitization period to kind of get used to carrying that weight around. The guys handled it well.”

On how close QB Battle is: “We haven’t really talked about it. They’re not getting equal reps with the ones. It would be silly for me to hide the fact that Shane (Buechele) gets more reps with the ones, but I think he has to know that if Sam (Ehlinger) goes out there and has a good couple series with the ones, he’s probably going to stay in for a couple more and earn that. I don’t know how close it is. Sam’s still going to get reps with the ones up until we start preparing for Maryland because if he does better than Shane, he’s going to earn himself more and more reps.”

On if Ehlinger could realistically pass Buechele: “I think realistically, yeah. He’s got an uphill battle, so to speak, because he’s not getting as many reps with the ones, but we still look at it as a competition, although there’s only so many reps to go around. We’ve got to make calculated decisions on how many reps we want Shane to get and how many reps we want Sam to get.”

On if he has an ideal running back in this offense: “Ezekiel Elliott. (laughs) The fourth pick in the draft. We’ve had all shapes and sizes from Carlos Hyde to Ezekiel Elliott to Kenneth Farrow to Duke Catalon. We had Jerome Bettis come speak to our team last year. He said that the running back’s job, before you even think about carrying the football, is you’ve got to protect the quarterback and protect the ball. If you can’t do those two things, you’re not going to see the field. As long as they’re doing that and playing tough and physical, it doesn’t matter; height, weight, forty time. It’s vision, consistency and protecting the ball.”

On the defensive install so far: “Good. There’s still a fair share of busts, whether it be new guys or even older guys overloaded a little bit. Again, something I’ve believed in my entire career in coaching is you try and install as much as you can – I say as much as you can – you try and install pretty much everything that’s not gameplan specific, your base offense and defense, early. Then you go back, reteach it, and then do it again and again and again. You want to expose them to all the different techniques and all the different defense coverages, fronts, blitzes and all that. Then you go back, reinforce what you taught first.”

On teaching 4-3 alongside 3-4: “Day one was pretty much all three-down. Day two was pretty much all four-down. Today was a mix like we would be in a game. We’ll continue to mix that in throughout training camp.”

On if he saw DeShon Elliott’s hit versus Notre Dame:” I saw it on TV. I didn’t see it on game film because I didn’t watch any. That was a Sunday night game, wasn’t it? I think I saw it on TV.”

On if he likes the idea that receivers should fear the UT secondary: “Very much so, legally. Very much so, but make sure we’re legal.”

On how deep the secondary is: “Not corner. Safety would be. Safety definitely. That’s a loaded room. If one of those safeties is one of our best 11 guys, we’re going to try and figure out – me and Coach Orlando have had numerous conversations about trying to get the best 11 on the field.”

On if he would consider moving a WR/DB to RB this offseason: “I think we’ve got two really good freshman in Toneil Carter and Daniel Young. They’re young and trying to feel their way around, but I feel both of those guys, if they progress the way we think they’re going to progress, would probably provide more production than trying to move a guy to a foreign position.”

Daniel Young (via Young)

Daniel Young (via Young)

On Toneil Carter’s ball security: “First day in pads, we weren’t really tackling. It’s been okay so far. When we go live is when we’ll see if he’s doing a better job protecting the football.”

On Edwin Freeman: “Great. I love him. He keeps his mouth shut and goes to work. He’s backup mike right now to (Anthony) Wheeler and really pushing him. Does everything right. I like being around him. He’s doing a good job. He’s a pretty sharp guy. He could probably play either one of those inside (LB) position.”

On Connor Williams literally bringing others along with him: “It’s something I got from Coach Meyer. It’s really easy for elite guys, elite workers, elite work-ethic guys to come in and do their own thing. They’re self-motivated, but we’re not going to be as good a team as we can be if they’re coming in on their own and the guys that are kind of fence-riders or guys we call ‘compliant but not convicted,’ maybe they check a box and do things right but they don’t do the extra. I told him it’s his job as a leader on this team to make sure you’re bringing somebody with you. You’re teaching that person, whoever it is that day, how you do things. How elite guys train.”

On Williams coming out of his shell: “He can still do it more, but like I said yesterday or the day before, o-line is a little bit different. As long as him and Pat Vahe can get that house in order, that’s a task unto itself. That’s 17-18 guys in one room. There’s no more interdependent position group in probably all of sport than probably offensive line. If those guys are handling their business, I’ll consider Pat and Connor good leaders. But he is coming out of his shell more to do that.”

On why Craig Naivar is a good special teams coach: “Because he’s done it forever, one. He’s had success wherever he’s done it. He’s done it at a lot of different levels. He knows the way that I like to do things and the way that we are going to do things. He’s completely bought in. He’s an excellent teacher. His energy level, if there’s a more energetic coach in the country you’ll have to show him to me. This guy, I think he’s got Red Bull and Dr. Pepper in his veins. It’s a sight to behold.”

On if there’s been a temperament change since spring: “My temperament? I don’t think so. I think we’ve got a job to do and that job is a second-by-second, minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, day-by-day job. We’ve got a culture to protect and so what we’ve got to be able to be on point each and every day, each and every minute of every day. I’ll maybe loosen up a little bit after a bowl game or something for a couple weeks then we’ll get right back to work.”

On if he thought recruiting would be this successful: “I thought it could. We did it at Houston before we’d ever coached a game as a group, let alone coached a game at whatever place we’re at. I think there’s a lot of testimony to back up how we do things. I think our players do an excellent job of recruiting, which is really cool because they’re going to tell the recruits and the parents the truth. They’re not going to sugarcoat things because they’re not trained that way. They’re trained to tell the truth. I think when you have players selling your program and the way that you do things, it really, really resonates. Then, we’re still in Austin and we’re still one of the top 25 public educations in the country. I thought we could, but we’re doing pretty good.”

On if Malik Jefferson has done what he’s needed to do: “Yeah, he’s done everything we’ve asked him to and more, which is fantastic. I think he has focused his energy into being a better, not just linebacker, but a better teammate and a better leader and the dividends have been paying off. Obviously, we won’t know for sure until Saturdays in the fall. I made a comment. I sat in the linebacker meeting room the other night and just how different his body looked on video running around out there, his lower body specifically. I think he’s proud of that. You guys are going to get the chance to talk to him and Jerrod Heard. You can ask him. He’s doing a really good job.”

On if becoming a leader is difficult for Heard: “Jerrod is a quiet guy by nature. He’s humble. He works really, really hard. Again, that position group, too, is a difficult one to lead because if you’re not careful there can be a lot of individualism in that room. He’s done a really good job a little bit more behind the scenes than we even know as coaches. He’s a guy that does everything right on the field and off the field. You do those things and you’re going to get the privilege of having our staff and myself cultivate you as a leader. He’s done that.”

On benefit of having an ex-QB at WR: “I think the best tight ends and wide receivers are former quarterbacks because they truly know coverages. They know the ins and outs. They know defenses. They know where holes are. They know body posture and demeanor of defenders and what that means. I think it’s a big advantage for him, that knowledge of defenses and secondaries.”