Tom Herman unleashes his first Texas team Saturday against Maryland. We don't know much about the Terps or the Longhorns for that matter. Maryland headman D.J. Durkin is in his second season, and the prognosticators picked the Terrapins near the bottom of the Big 10. Herman's team is the only Texas FBS team ranked in the AP top 25, still, after last season's 5-7 finish it's anyone's guess how 2017 turns out. As to the opener, here are a few keys to the game.
Pound the Rock
Texas replaces its most dynamic offensive weapon, D'Onta Foreman, with a slew of unknowns. The Longhorns would be wise to figure out a run game quickly, especially before they head to Los Angeles to take on USC in a couple of weeks. Texas has no excuse for struggling to run, a physical, experienced offensive line returns and several big time running back recruits will vie for carries. Herman's teams are predicated on toughness, no better time to show toughness than right out of the box.
Line Up and run to the football
Todd Orlando brings defensive pressure every game. Saturday will be his first as the defensive coordinator at Texas. The Longhorns are as talented as any group of individuals playing defense in the Big 12. Still, all that talent hasn't translated on the field. Orlando will be somewhat vanilla Saturday, not putting too much on tape for USC and future opponents. The key for Texas will be the basics, lining up and running to the football. Do those things, and it's a huge step in the right direction.
Nothing can derail Texas' season more than injuries. Texas is very thin at several positions including quarterback, offensive line, defensive line, and tight end. Injuries in any of those areas and Texas is hurting. That said, Sam Ehlinger needs to see action at quarterback because chances are he'll be playing significant minutes this season.
Shane Buechele was eighteen years old and starting on one of the biggest stages in college football. He completed 60% of his throws and completed 21 touchdown passes.
D'Onta Foreman's loss could be huge. Foreman ran for 2,028 of Texas 2,871 yards.
No Texas receiver caught more than 34 passes, but seven Longhorn receivers caught 20 or more.
D.J. Durkin made his bones as a defensive coordinator, most recently at Michigan. In his first season, Maryland ranked 77th in total defense.
Ty Johnson rushed for 1,004 yards as a sophomore last season.