Golden’s nuggets: Sam Ehlinger will start for Texas, but can he finish?

Aug 20, 2018
QB Sam Ehlinger looks on during their first open practice to the News media at Frank Denius Fields on Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Sam Ehlinger just got named the starting quarterback for your 2018 Texas Football Longhorns.

But will he finish?

Before he made the announcement during his Monday media availability, coach Tom Herman as recently as Saturday insisted the race behind center was back-and-forth. Herman said Ehlinger is throwing the ball a lot better with good pocket presence, which gave him the edge over the more experienced Shane Buechele.

“It was just a matter of who do we feel gives you the best chance to win in the first game and see if we’re right,” Herman said.

We already knew, didn’t we? It had to be Sam. He’s the one that’s closest to the alpha dog that Herman so desires for the most important position on his ballclub. Ehlinger doesn’t throw a deep ball as well as Buechele, but he brings more athleticism. On a team that has question marks at running back, he’s the best choice.

So what took so long?

Well, Herman wanted to keep both candidates engaged as long as he could. Monday was a good time to name the starter with the opener against Maryland two weeks away. To stretch this thing into the season like he did last year would have done a disservice to both quarterbacks, the offense and the locker room.

So how does he make sure Buechele stays engaged through his junior year, on the off chance Ehlinger makes it through 12 games without getting hurt?

“Let’s make no mistake, (Buechele) had a great camp,” Herman said. “A great camp. Didn’t really do anything wrong.”

I’m sure that’s a real comfort to Shane. In realistic terms, Buechele has to know he will play this season. Ehlinger isn’t the type to shy away from contact.

Remember last season when running back Chris Warren III was moved to tight end?

Seems like forever ago because Warren is trucking tacklers on the professional level and has the Oakland Raiders gushing over the undrafted free agent. Through two preseason games, the 6-2, 247-pound rookie is leading the league in rushing with 196 yards, averaging 6.3 yards per carry.

“I believe that I’m showing that I’m capable (of being an NFL back), but I don’t believe I’ve proved anything yet,” Warren told silverandblackpride.com. “I still need to go back out there and prove some more stuff.”

So what has changed? Maybe it’s the difference between being in college and working to put food on the table or it could simply be Warren thriving because of a needed change of scenery. He had struggles at Texas his junior year but never averaged fewer than 4.4 yards per carry in three seasons.

“He’s a good back, isn’t he?” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said to 247Sports. “I mean, he’s run for almost 200 yards in two weeks. And I know he’s not playing against the regulars, but he’s not playing with the regulars, either. He’s a big, powerful back that’s taking care of the ball. He’s got to get better without the football — that’s what it’s all about with him.”

He is listed fourth on the depth chart behind veterans Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin and Jalen Richard. Pass blocking is the biggest adjustment but something tells me if he continues to rumble like he’s been rumbling, the Raiders will have a spot for him.

The biggest news coming out of the announcement of Texas settling with former track coach Bev Kearney on the race and gender discrimination civil suit wasn’t the fact that the parties arrived at the $600,000 figure, but how much the lawyers got.

The Jody R. Mask PLLC law firm will receive $322,547.90, which is nearly $50,000 more than its client.

Good for the suits. Still wondering why the parties didn’t settle this thing years ago. Was it really worth a five-year tug-of-war?

The NFL is headed for disaster and it has nothing to do with kneeling before the national anthem.

It’s impossible to tackle in this league now. The new rule that calls for a 15-yard penalty for players who lead with their heads or lower with their heads upon impact is one of the worst things to enter football since the XFL.

San Francisco cornerback Richard Sherman, who has been one of the most physical players at his position for nearly a decade, tweeted that the NFL is on its way to becoming a flag football league.

“Even in a perfect form tackle the body is led by the head,” Sherman tweeted. “The rule is idiotic And should be dismissed immediately.”

It reminds me of Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Lambert, who was asked back in his Pittsburgh Steelers days about rules that were passed to protect quarterbacks.

“Well, it might be a good idea to put dresses on all of them,” Lambert said.

I understand that the owners are trying to make the game safer, but this new implementation has already gone horrible wrong. I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually like my television violence this clean.