At some point within the next several days, Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman could name sophomore Shane Buechele as the starting quarterback as the team prepares to kick off the season against the Maryland Terrapins in a little more than two weeks.
On Thursday, however, Herman directed his focus on Buechele’s biggest area for improvement — reducing his mistakes.
“Cut down on mistakes,” said the Texas head coach. “Cut down on the turnovers. We fumbled an exchange today. I don’t think he threw any interceptions, which was good.”
One area where Buechele is struggling somewhat is in adjusting to the complexities of the offense run by Herman and coordinator Tim Beck, which is not nearly as simple as the veer and shoot run by Sterlin Gilbert last season. Gilbert’s offense, derived from Art Briles, didn’t feature a playbook, for instance.
“I think it’s a much more complex offense than what he is used to. I think, at times, forget is not the right word but reverts back to just, ‘Hey, take the snap and throw it to who I think is going to be open on this play.’ That’s not always the case.”
Instead, Herman is asking the Arlington Lamar product to read defenses, adjust protections, and put people in motion, the latter aspect of which didn’t feature into Gilbert’s offense at all.
Despite the criticism, the Longhorns head coach feels confident that Buechele will be ready once the season begins.
“You’ve got to do a lot of things in our offense,” Herman said. “He’s getting there. I’m confident that in the next, whatever it is, 16 days that he can get there, especially when you start dialing into a gameplan.”
Right now, Buechele isn’t dealing with the tendencies of an opponent — as Herman described it, defensive coordinator Todd Orlando is throwing all of his pressures at Buechele and freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger in practice.
“It’s just plays versus plays and that gets a little overwhelming at times,” Herman said.
Part of that is due to the simple demands of installation and repetition, but it also helps foster the type of chaos that Herman loves in his practices.
Right now, that chaos is a little bit too much for the sophomore quarterback at times, but the good news is that things will be easier on the field against the Terrapins.
And there still aren’t a large number of compelling reasons to suggest that Buechele will be on the sidelines when the first-team offense takes the field on September 2.