Her­man: I won’t name starter at QB till Au­gust

Spring will pro­vide ‘idea’ how Eh­linger vs. Buechele stands.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Danny Davis daniel­d­avis@states­man.com Con­tact Danny Davis at 512445-3952. Twit­ter: @aas­danny

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.”

JAY JANNER / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

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.

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