Ehlinger's Grit, Swagger Sets Him Apart From The Competition

Every college football fan is wondering when Texas football will return to national prominence. 

The easy answer is not yet—but it's coming sooner rather than later.

On the defensive side of the ball, Texas has been rather stout. The Longhorns were sixth in the nation against the run in 2017, only giving up 105.7 yards per game on the ground.

The defense as a whole has been pretty sharp, allowing just 21.7 points a game, which was good enough for 31st in the land.

Sounds solid so far, right?

Sure, but take a look at what they did against the pass. The Longhorns' pass defense ranked 108th in the nation, giving up 257.9 yards through the air. 

Abysmal. 

I remember quickly losing count of how many times I watched the secondary get gashed last year. 

Enter Caden Sterns and BJ Foster. 


The top two safeties in the state of Texas enrolled early in the spring and are poised to stop the deep ball that hurt the Longhorns so often a year ago. 

Those two additions may not solve all the problems the Horns faced against the pass, but it will sure help. 

And, how about the offense?

The rush attack was lower-tier to say the least, averaging just 141.8 yards per game.

The young, two-headed monster featuring Toneil Carter and Daniel Young is back, though, and they’ll get some help.

Tre Watson, a grad transfer from Cal, will also be joining those two on the rushing attack and is eligible immediately.

So, with the additions the Longhorns have made, it’s obvious they’re addressing the weak spots from a season ago. It’ll just be a matter of putting it all together on the field—which will be easier said than done, of course.

The quarterback situation continues to be a mess as Tom Herman has said he doesn’t plan on announcing a starter anytime soon.

It seems to be a two-man race, however, between Shane Buechele and Sam Ehlinger.

Looking at these two from a pure numbers standpoint, Buechele probably looks like your guy, especially when you look at his outstanding freshman year of 2,958 passing yards and 21 scores. 

But, it isn’t that easy.

Ever since watching Ehlinger almost pull off the win over the Trojans in Los Angeles and almost will the Horns over Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, he's shown something that Buechele seems to lack. It’s a kind of competitive swagger and competitive grit that you don’t see too often and it won’t show up in the stats.

He’s also a tougher quarterback and clearly wants to be the guy, the leader, like that time last year in the Cotton Bowl when he walked off the field with his horns up as the Sooner fans chanted “Texas sucks.” He wasn’t afraid of anything as a freshman and that’s not going to change. 

I think that’s what Herman sees too.

It’ll sure be a lot of fun watching that situation play out, but wouldn’t it be even more fun if Texas was back just a little bit? Just a friendly reminder that the Longhorns haven’t had a double digit number in the win column since 2009.

It’s likely that that streak will continue, but this year’s group certainly has the potential to snap that unfortunate streak and do something special.

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