For the first time in what honestly feels more like decades than years, Texas can rely on a group of players that are both experienced and physically up for the task of putting together 13 games of solid football.
In the last decade or so the tight end position has infringed on the domain of wide receivers. Especially in the NFL, it has become a glamour position that prizes athleticism over grunt work. But for Tom Herman's offense, glamour is in the grunt work that helps the offense operate as intended. He'll take any and all modern day mutants at the position, but they must possess the willingness to aid in the running game first and foremost.
One of the main topics for the offense heading into the 2018 season is how much of a difference it will make for the unit to have even average OL play. Replacing the weak spots across the line, having multiple groups of five that can be executed to soundly execute their assignments without costly errors, and plugging in a top talent at LT after unexpectedly having to forego that luxury in 2017 are all changing variables that could provide a tremendous boost. But there’s another factor that’s likely to have a big impact on the 2018 unit and even to effect the quality of the blocking in a major way, that’s the growth at TE.
Texas released the following statement Wednesday night: Texas senior TE Andrew Beck sustained a foot fracture in Wednesday's practice, and the Longhorn medical staff is currently reviewing treatment options. Also, freshman DB Chris Brown sustained a high ankle sprain in Monday’s practice and his treatment and rehabilitation will require an extended amount of time.
It might be strange to discuss Texas tight ends so much since there’s a decent chance that Texas will spend half or more of their offensive snaps next season without one on the field. That said, Herman clearly wants to make them a priority within the offense and some of the targets on the board for this next recruiting class (Mustapha Muhammad and Malcolm Epps for instance) are potential game-changers.
One of the savvier political moves that Charlie Strong made at Texas was to tell the broadcast team for the Baylor game that “no matter who’s coaching Texas next year they’re going to be a 10-win team.”
Last season, a sputtering Texas offense kept the speed limit at 65. Now, Sterlin Gilbert’s souped-up scheme expects to clock 100 each time he takes the ‘ol baby out for a spin. One hundred plays: that’s how many snaps Gilbert wants to run each game, players said Tuesday. And that’s putting the pedal to the metal considering Texas averaged 65 plays per outing in 2015.
UT's changes to its offense has already had a ripple effect across the entire program without the Longhorns doing anything other than lining up in more spread formations in their spring scrimmage.