Golden’s Nuggets: Why Tom Herman can’t bench Sam Ehlinger vs. Tulsa


Tom Herman threw his full support behind his starting quarterback while wearing different hats during his Monday media availability: head coach, English professor, embattled spin doctor.

After Sam Ehlinger coughed up two interceptions in a frightful 4-minute, 26-second span of the fourth quarter in Maryland, no one would have blamed Longhorn Nation for sending out the famed bat signal.

Seems like an SOS would have been more appropriate.

S-ame O-ld S-am.

So the sophomore quarterback is still turnover-prone, and Herman hasn’t gotten him to the point of making smarter decisions when it matters most. No news flash there.

But for those of who you believe that it’s already time to call upon junior Shane Buechele to take over the reins in what just became a must-win home opener against Tulsa, think again.

It won’t help to bench Ehlinger.

At this stage of his career, he’s an average quarterback, and he won’t make it to above average or better by donning a clipboard and a ballcap. Besides, Buechele isn’t much better. He’s a tad more accurate and throws a better deep ball, but he’s cement-footed in the pocket, not very good at avoiding that first wave of pass rushers. Ehlinger can get yards with his feet and, at times, throw a good ball.

So leave him in there and let him grow. No sense in panicking, despite the Maryland gut punch.

“I don’t think — certainly Sam didn’t play perfect, but nobody did, and his errors weren’t egregious enough to merit just dumping him on the depth chart,” Herman said when asked about a possible QB switch. “So you’re going to — if you start doing that, you’re going to start riding a roller coaster, and we’ve got a tremendous amount of confidence in him.”

On the bright side, Texas doesn’t have to play the Terps in 2019.

Did you hear the one about Tom Herman advising linebacker Gary Johnson to polish up on his Steinbeck?

Herman insists the Horns lost the opener partly because they were simply trying too hard to be perfect. Then came a literary analogy, out of nowhere.

“He had never read ‘Of Mice and Men,’ ” Herman said. “I told him he needs to read ‘Of Mice and Men.’ It was kind of Lenny with the rabbit and with George. Lenny wanted so badly to touch the rabbit and play with the rabbit, and he squeezed it so hard, he killed the rabbit.”

So he wants Johnson to read about a wascally wabbit when Texas can’t even beat a bunch of turtles?

Herman said he went for two points in the second quarter instead of kicking the extra point “based on the chart that every coach has.”

That chart shouldn’t even be taken out of the bag until the fourth quarter. Texas isn’t good enough to say no to free points.

The NCAA rarely takes a strong stance on anything, but several conferences have been proactive when it comes to the area of bullying.

That thought crossed my mind after watching Nick Saban — the biggest bully in the coaching profession — go off on ESPN sideline reporter Maria Taylor, who asked him about the play of his quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts at halftime of the Louisville game. Saban, who blasted the media during the offseason for daring to ask about the QB battle, has avoided the obvious — Tua is the more polished of the two — but still blew his stack at Taylor when asked the question we all wanted to hear.

And he got away with it. Why? Because he’s won all those titles and is called Saint Nick by his minions?

To his credit, Saban apologized to Taylor for the outburst. First time for everything.

The Dallas Cowboys just cut the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history.

Why, Jones boys? Why?

Some old-school football fans among us may point to the fact that no team should ever pay a kicker $3 million a year — sorry, Justin Tucker — even if it’s Dan Bailey, who has been money, money, money since he arrived in the Metroplex seven seasons ago.

Now for the dreamers — myself included — the hope is that the following conversation took place before Jerrah dropped the hammer:

Jerry: “Hey, Earl Thomas, if we can get to over $19 million in cap space, will you leave Seattle if we can sew you up long term in the offseason?”

Earl: “Sure, Mr. Jerry. I’ll take the discount. Make it happen.”

If Dallas can somehow make a trade happen at the eleventh hour, this defense will add the one piece that could mean the difference between a 9-7 and an 11-5 season. Thomas is that good.

Bailey won’t have trouble finding work — he worked out for the Jets in the past couple of days — but if this deal doesn’t wind up with Thomas moving to the Metroplex, I will feel really bad for new Dallas kicker Brett Maher after he misses a kick Bailey could make in his sleep.



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