The football version of Ben & Jerry’s most ingredient-packed ice cream won’t be on display Saturday when the Texas Longhorns play the Orange-White game.
As ever, the spring-ending scrimmage will be pure vanilla.
Inside zone. Quick game. Some play-action passes. Maybe even the requisite trick play. The defense will almost surely work some in the Lightning package, but won’t unveil any new blitzes.
With opposing programs ready to break down whatever Texas puts on film, the Horns aren’t going to give them much insight. Head coach Tom Herman definitely has some goals in mind, however.
“Hopefully they’ll see a more cohesive offensive line,” Herman said when asked what fans can expect to see.
If that happens, it will probably mostly come from an improved starting unit, as Herman cited left guard Patrick Vahe and center Zach Shackelford as players who have improved significantly this spring.
The back ups have more work to do and with only eight healthy scholarship offensive linemen available on Saturday, position coach Herb Hand will rotate those players through the lineups for the Orange and White teams. So the walk ons probably won’t play early with the scholarship back ups as Hand works to make sure that the quarterbacks on both teams have a chance to play behind scholarship players.
Both teams will have two scholarship quarterbacks switching out on each series unless the snap distributions becomes too unbalanced.
With heavy injuries at the running back position and only two healthy scholarship players there, Daniel Young will be on one team, Toneil Carter will be on the other, and walk-on Tim Yoder will rotate between the teams. Expect Young and Carter to get plenty of opportunities to run the ball on inside zone, a staple play that the Longhorns need to execute better this season.
As that happens, the offensive line will try to successfully block a defensive line that is arguably the best unit on the team.
“Charles Omenihu is going to make a play or two, but if we’re going to the right place we’ll fix that up,” Herman said. “Malcolm Roach is going to make a play or two, but if we’re going to the right place and we’re getting off the ball and doing the things we need to be doing, we can live with that.”
Basically, the defensive line is going to be successful this season barring injuries, so seeing the offensive line experience some success is a major goal. Seeing improvement from the back ups would be ideal — that’s Samuel Cosmi at let tackle, Tope Imade at guard, and JP Urquidez at right tackle.
Of course, ball security is one of the two demands that Herman makes of his players and quarterback Sam Ehlinger especially needs to avoid turnovers. Protecting Ehlinger and the other quarterbacks is also a major goal after allowing 34 sacks last season.
Herman wants to see a clean game without penalties, substitution issues, and assignment mistakes. Those were some of the biggest issues for Texas last season, especially penalties — the Longhorns ended the season as one of the most penalized teams in the country. If there are multiple procedural penalties and multiple players busting assignments, that won’t be a positive sign for the team.
Last year, the offense battled the defense to score more points, but Herman said that will change this year to a game-like format with the Orange team attempting to score more points than the White team.