Before Thursday’s Texas Tip-Off, fans piled into Gregory Gym expecting to see local talent and 5-star forward Jarrett Allen and the rest of head coach Shaka Smart’s 2016-17 Longhorn men’s basketball team. While Allen was held out of the scrimmage was a precautionary measure to protect a strained hamstring, several other newcomers, including freshman guard Andrew Jones and transfer forward Dylan Osetkowski, took the opportunity to showcase their talent.
After appearing at various points last season as a linebacker, sophomore Breckyn Hager has found a role on this year’s defense in the FOX role. It has been a challenge for Hager to learn a different position tasked with different responsibilities and assignments than what he was used to.
With two and a half seasons now under his belt, senior safety Dylan Haines has seen plenty of characters. Some of them now play in the NFL, some have graduated, some transferred and some are still in Austin with him. Sophomore defensive back Kris Boyd is one of those characters, and still draws chuckles every time a teammate mentions him.
Six games in to his true freshman campaign, quarterback Shane Buechele’s season has exceeded most basic expectations fans had for a true freshman leading the offense. His play, including going 123 of 193 for 1500 yards and 13 touchdowns, has kept the Longhorns in games their defense has tried to give away.
After using the 18-Wheeler formation in overtime against Notre Dame to seal the victory, the formation senior Tyrone Swoopes leads has proved mostly ineffective over the past several weeks. Opposing defensive coordinators stack the box against Swoopes, daring him to throw the ball. Throwing the ball just has not been in offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert’s plans yet.
Even though it is his first year at Texas, offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert will see a familiar face when the Iowa State Cyclones come to town this Saturday. First year Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell was head coach at Toledo in 2014 when he squared off with Bowling Green offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert, with Toledo topping Bowling Green 44-28. Gilbert’s experience against Campbell is something he will reach into when he is calling plays this Saturday.
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After struggling to get snaps as an outside receiver during his first three seasons on campus, junior Jake Oliver has found his place as an inside receiver, recording 13 receptions with 129 yards. Oliver, who second all time in Texas in career receptions, had to stay patient to get his opportunity. For him, it was a huge challenge.
Prior to a game important between the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners in the Red River Shootout, emotions in both programs can run high. After all, rivalry games are when programs, coaches, players and fans show their total disdain for the opposite program. Texas offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert knows the emotion associated with the Red River Shootout, but he has never experienced it himself. He’s looking forward to being a part of it.