Herman: I won’t name starter at QB till August
Spring will provide ‘idea’ how Ehlinger vs. Buechele stands.
Once again, Texas will exit the spring without a starting quarterback.
Coach Tom Herman said Monday that he will not name a starting quarterback during spring drills, which begin Tuesday. Herman said he’ll likely pick a starter — presumably either sophomore-to-be Shane Buechele or early enrollee Sam Ehlinger — within the first week of training camp this August.
After spring ball, “we’ll have an idea and we’ll have that conversation with those kids, too, on where they kind of stand, but I think it’s important that they at least have the ability to go win the job in training camp and really win the job over the course of the summer in terms of leading their teammates,” Herman said.
Herman’s announcement gives Texas an open competition at quarterback for a third straight year. Former coach Charlie Strong waited until the week of Texas’ season opener at Notre Dame in 2015 to anoint then-junior Tyrone Swoopes. Then last year, Buechele wasn’t publicly acknowledged as the starter until the first series against the Fighting Irish.
Third-string battle: There will also be a competition behind Buechele and Ehlinger. Herman said that sophomores-to-be Matthew Merrick and Josh Covey are in the conversation to be UT’s third-string quarterback.
Merrick, who’s on scholarship, was a three-star prospect when he arrived at Texas in 2015. Covey is a walk-on from Georgetown’s East View High, and Herman complimented his athleticism on Monday.
With Merrick and Covey competing for snaps, Jerrod Heard will stay at receiver.
Herman on Leitao: Reese Leitao’s association with Texas’ football program may not be determined until this summer, Herman said Monday.
Leitao, a tight end from Jenks, Okla., who signed with Texas in February, was arrested last week on a charge of possessing or delivering a controlled drug within 1,000 feet of a school. Released on a $15,000 bond, he’s next scheduled to appear in court Tuesday in Tulsa County.
On Monday, Herman said he had spoken both to Leitao and Leitao’s parents, and that a proper resolution needed to be made by this summer.
“The standing is that we’re not a court of law. We’re not into that,” Herman said. “So I think we’re going to reserve judgment for once we get some resolution as to the severity, if any, of any crimes that he might have committed. Again, right now it’s allegation at this point.
“But at the same time, I think if that resolution — and I’ve had this conversation with him and his parents — that resolution needs to be sped up maybe than what a normal court process might be because I’ve got to know something somewhere around the summer as to whether we’re going to allow him to be part of the team or not.”
Position change for Gray: Leitao’s arrest and Andrew Beck’s broken left foot have left question marks at tight end, which was already a position ripe for scrutiny. Herman said Monday that Garrett Gray had been moved to tight end from wide receiver. Herman said the 6-4, 230-pound Gray was “probably a year away just from a mass standpoint, to be big enough at that position.”
Shane Buechele (7) started at quarterback for Texas last season as a freshman but faces competition from incoming freshman Sam Ehlinger from Westlake High. Ehlinger has enrolled early at Texas.