After a week of resting his throwing shoulder, Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger is going to spend this week working toward recovery ahead of Saturday’s trip to Oklahoma State.
During his weekly press conference Monday, head coach Tom Herman discussed Ehlinger’s return from an AC sprain, saying the sophomore will see an uptick in his reps on the practice field with the hope that he will start the primetime matchup against the Cowboys.
“I think he threw 10 throws with a Nerf ball yesterday, 15 with a regular football,” Herman said. “I think he’s scheduled to do something like 25 or 30 with a regular football today. He was at practice yesterday, out there doing everything in the run game, all the handoffs and run game checks and reads and all of that, just being very cautious with how we accelerate his throwing.”
Herman said a normal practice for Ehlinger would consist of about 75 to 80 throws.
Ehlinger’s game status likely won’t be known until Texas concludes its final practice of the week Thursday.
On top of the amount of throws in the pocket by Ehlinger each game, he averages over 12 rushing attempts per game this season excluding the Baylor game — which often leads to a lot of physical play for the dual-threat quarterback.
“We talked a while yesterday about him being very honest with us in terms of his pain because there’s an element to his game that’s different than a lot of quarterbacks, and if we’re out there playing cautious and tentative and trying to protect things, I think that plays into the overall effectiveness of him and his game for us,” Herman said.
While Ehlinger gives the Longhorns a better chance of increasing their win streak to seven games on Saturday, Herman said quarterback Shane Buechele, who has taken the reps with the starters over the last week, can easily be inserted into Texas’ offensive game plan.
“I don’t know any quarterback room that has two clones,” Herman said. “Do they have certain strengths and weaknesses? Yeah. But I think our offense, it’s very easy to plug and play. It’s not like we call or we carry in a game plan only these plays when Sam’s our quarterback and only these plays when Shane’s our quarterback.”
One thing going for Buechele is that, in his third season at Texas, he’s got an abundance of experience in the offensive system. Herman, like many of Buechele’s teammates, has confidence that he can lead the team to wins just as he did against Baylor.
“I think through the first six weeks that there’s certainly a lot of confidence that Sam had earned in his teammates, but based off what Shane Buechele has done in his career here, there’s nobody that doubts that we can win games with him and win big games with him,” Herman said.