For Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman, ball security is one of his two points of emphasis for all of his players during spring practice and good decision making is one of the traits he requires in his quarterbacks.
On Tuesday, which marked the first practice under Herman, the incumbent starter at quarterback, Shane Buechele, received some vocal criticism and punishment from Herman and the offensive staff.
“There's no secrets around here,” Herman said. “If you're a bad guy, your teammates are going to know you're a bad guy. There's zero preferential treatment. Shane Buechele got disciplined as hard as anybody got disciplined today.”
Herman was pointed in expressing that there are no exceptions to his attempts at instilling a greater level of accountability in the program, which he believes hasn’t always been present.
“That's the way we do things around here,” he said. “I'm not sure that's the way things have been done around here before now, but it's a good way to know with this coaching staff there's no favorites.”
So what were Buechele’s transgressions? Herman said that his quarterback was “loose with the football” for a second time. According to the head coach, every member of the offensive staff let him know about it.
And that’s alignment in practice at practice.
As punishment, Buechele did “up-downs and the whole nine.”
Certainly, the discipline doesn’t indicate that Buechele is suddenly way off track, but after fumbling the ball six times last season and throwing 11 interceptions, Herman is demanding growth in those areas. And if the sophomore doesn’t show that growth, early enrollee Sam Ehlinger could end up winning the job, as he generally showed an ability to keep the ball protected when moving in the pocket in high school.
The incident was also Herman’s way of ensuring that the team knows that even a gym rat and model citizen like Buechele who does nearly everything right won’t get a pass for failing to live up to the high standards now in place in the Texas football program.