As the college football offseason enters the home stretch, Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman raised some eyebrows on Saturday when he admitted that Sam Ehlinger is pushing Shane Buechele in battle to become the Longhorns starting quarterback.
Herman told reporters on Saturday:
“I do think going into that Monday, if we’re introducing Maryland, you’re going to want the guy that’s going to be the guy to be the guy… If Sam [Ehlinger] continues on the trajectory he’s on, and it’s not that Shane’s [Buechele] playing bad. Shane’s playing well. Sam has played better. We’ll see where we are at the end of the week. If it’s too close to call, it’s too close to call. You’d like to, ideally, to settle in with somebody going into that Monday of the next week.”
Herman’s affinity for Ehlinger has been well known for months and it’s long been predicted that Ehlinger’s style of play fit Herman’s playbook better than Buechele.
That being said, I often assumed Buechele would get first crack at the job this fall. First off he had a solid true freshman season in 2016, especially considering the team wasn’t all that good. Also, he appeared to develop nicely this offseason, including winning the QB Challenge at the Manning Passing Academy.
Herman could be thinking the following: 2017 is the final year of a rebuild at Texas. Sam Ehlinger has the potential to be a much better player than Shane Buchele. If 2018 is the season this program gets itself back to National Championship contention, then bringing in Ehlinger to begin playing this fall and work through the growing pains in preparation to burst onto the national stage in 2018.
The flip side of this is it could all be a mind game Herman is playing to push Buechele to his limit and keep him hungry and humble.
My two cents: Buechele wins the job and is starting in Week 1 against Maryland.
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