Three brothers, two coordinators, one side dish

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Texas safety Caden Sterns comes from a football family. One older brother, Jordan, played at Oklahoma State and spent time in the NFL. Another older brother, Jamison, played at West Texas A&M.

Sterns also has two brothers currently on the Houston Baptist football team. The Huskies, specifically the Sterns brothers, gave Texas Tech everything they could handle in Lubbock on September 12.

Josh, a true freshman, had five receptions for 209 yards and two touchdowns, while junior Jerreth had 12 catches for 130 yards and one score in HBU’s 35-33 loss at Jones AT&T Stadium. Jerreth’s late touchdown reception put the Huskies a two-point conversion away from tying the game, but Texas Tech held onto their slim margin against the Houston-based FCS program.

Now, it’s Caden’s turn to take on the Red Raiders. Before he does, he spoke with his brothers about what they saw (running) from Texas Tech.

“I called them,” Sterns said Tuesday. “My mom told me about my brothers going off. So I was like ‘yo, how was it?’ Really, they just told me their defense wasn’t doing too good. Other than that, they said they were a pretty good team.”

“It’s just cool seeing my brothers reach their dream of playing D1 football, doing what they did,” he continued. “I wish they were here at Texas, but seeing what they did and the amount of work that they put in, I love seeing my brothers win. I’m wishing they would have won the game. Being around this big football family, we get to trade knowledge that we have with one another, too. It’s pretty cool.”

Two Coordinators

As Texas progresses through the season, some familiar faces re-appear in front of the media while others speak on Zoom for the first time.

Two who made their first appearance in front of the media on Tuesday included senior captains Ta’Quon Graham and Derek Kerstetter.

Graham, a defensive lineman from Temple, was asked what his impression of defensive coordinator Chris Ash was so far.

“I feel like he’s on everyone,” Graham said. “I understand that he coaches the safeties and the back end, but at the same time when we’re doing our scout work and stuff, he’s very hands on with us when he sees things. If something’s not right, we’ll redo it again and again and again until it’s right. I would say Chris Ash is a perfectionist. He gets it down right away. Him bringing in this new scheme and the attitude and the effort he brings in, I think it’s a perfect fit for us.”

Kerstetter, an offensive lineman from San Antonio, fielded a similar question about offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich.

“He’s a heck of a coach,” Kerstetter said. “He worked really hard over the quarantine to be able to make sure that we were prepared and ready to play when our game did come. I think just being able to be comfortable with him and how we were able to work with him through Zoom meetings. It’s part of a big deal for us to be able to be comfortable with him.”

One Side Dish

Jones AT&T Stadium typically holds 60,454, but with COVID-19 capacity restrictions, only 25 percent of the seats will be available Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

Against HBU, only 11,157 Red Raider fans were present. The attendance number is likely to be higher with a conference rival coming to town, but university policy will mandate that over 45,000 seats remain empty.

Even with the strange environment to come, Texas players were asked about their memories of playing in Lubbock. Across the board, tortillas were mentioned.

“The tortillas are obviously a really fun experience,” Kerstetter said. “It’s different. It’s going to be at 25 percent, so I don’t know if that means only 25 percent of the tortillas will be thrown or what. It’s going to be exciting just to see. They’re always a rowdy atmosphere. It’s always been fun to go play there and see what that fanbase brings.”

“A very intense atmosphere,” Graham said. “They do not like us. We’re getting tortillas thrown at us every five minutes, but in my honest opinion it makes the game even more fun. When you come into a hostile environment like that ready to compete, I feel like it gives you an extra boost of confidence or juice or whatever you want to call it. We’re just ready to roll no matter what the stadium looks like.”

“I think my favorite is the tortillas,” quarterback Sam Ehlinger said. “Obviously, that’s their famous interaction. I guess there will be a quarter of the amount of tortillas thrown per game on Saturday. That’s kind of unfortunate. Always a great time playing up in Lubbock. They’re always a hostile environment. I expect it to be the same, except just at 25 percent. “