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Herman On the Horns: Back In Action

NCAA Football: Big 12 Media Days Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Horns retook the practice field on Monday after following up Saturday’s scrimmage with a mandated therapy day full of Cryochambers, saltwater floats and dry needles.

Coach Herman waxed expansive in Monday’s post-practice media session. The highlights:

Team Health

Jason Hall is officially in the Big XII concussion protocol after taking a blitz-pickup wallop from Chris Warren in Saturday’s scrimmage. He’ll need to get symptom-free, pass a baseline test and then work his way back through some conditioning tests and non-contact practice before getting full clearance, so it sounds like John Bonney will be getting run with the second-team safeties for at least the next few days.

Malcolm Roach suffered what Herman called a possible toe sprain in Monday’s practice and will be getting X-rays. A legit case of turf toe can be a sumbitch, so here’s hoping that the Swamp Thing escaped with a very minor twinge.

Scrimmage Stars

Herman named Patrick Vahe and DeShon Elliott as the offensive and defensive MVP’s of Saturday’s scrimmage. 2016 saw Vahe in the doghouse and Elliott limited to spot duty, but they’ve both earned consistent praise this summer for their leadership as well as for taking care of business between the lines.

Defensive Depth

Effective depth behind Poona Ford at nose tackle may be on the upswing, with both Gerald Wilbon and JUCO transfer Jamari Chisholm getting some love. Herman had nice things to say about Chisholm’s conditioning – any player coming in from JUCO rather than enjoying an offseason in Yancy McKnight’s Centaur Training Program was going to have an uphill battle, but it sounds as though Chisholm exceeded expectations in that regard. Both guys profile as 10-12 snap relief pitchers at this stage, but it’s encouraging that we may not see a massive dropoff between Poonatrations.

On the flip side, Herman was less sanguine about his current depth at corner. Davante Davis may still be battling the mental busts that have plagued his career thusfar, and while Josh Thompson has turned plenty of heads so far his own head is still swimming as the freshman works to gain command of the playbook.

Training Away the Yips

Speaking of the mental side, Herman has taken a positive outlook on John Burt’s case of the dropsies – positive in the sense that he views pass catching as a trainable skill like any other and that Burt can improve there by keeping his nose to the grindstone. Burt earned Herman’s respect by focusing on football over track this Spring, and the coach is returning the favor by staying positive and giving the junior wideout room to prove that he can pair a reliable pair of hands with his All-Conference sprinter’s speed.

Orlando’s Appeal

When asked why Todd Orlando was his top choice to serve as the Longhorns’ DC, Herman effusively praised TO’s time in Houston. He singled out Orlando’s penchant for stopping the run, creating turnovers and possessing answers to many of modern spread offenses’ toughest riddles. It sounded like the defense got the better of things in Saturday’s scrimmage, but that may not be a surprise - according to Herman, Houston came out of camp looking completely inept on offense during both of his seasons only to turn it on against “lesser” defenses like Oklahoma and Florida State.

Bigfoot Sighting

Kirk Johnson did individual work today, and may be cleared for contact tomorrow. I’m not moving him off of the Gravy List just yet, but in the summer hope springs eternal.

It’s tough to escape the feeling that Texas could be gearing up for something pretty fun and memorable this Fall. For much, much more on the shape of things to come this season, treat yourself to the best book on the market.