Coaching vacancy, quarterback battle fuel Longhorns summer

Michael Shapiro

Despite the collective slumber that has encased campus for the summer, Texas athletics is still in full swing. There are headlines abound to keep an eye on from the diamond to the gridiron. Here are the top five things to watch for before school starts in the fall.

The search for Augie Garrido’s replacement:

  • For the first time in 20 years, there is a vacancy in Texas baseball’s head coaching spot. Former head coach Augie Garrido was reassigned from the dugout to the athletics office following the 2016 season, now serving the University as a special assistant to men’s athletics director Mike Perrin. Whoever replaces Garrido before offseason practices in the fall has legendary shoes to fill,  but with a nationwide search soon to begin, there will be no shortage of candidates for one of the nation’s most prestigious positions in sports. Look for the Longhorns brass to reach out to University of Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan and TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle.

Football’s battle behind center:

  • As Texas football enters the third year of the Charlie Strong era, a quarterback battle is brewing for the second straight season. The familiar faces of sophomore Jerrod Heard and senior Tyrone Swoopes are prospects for the starting job, but new to the party is freshman Shane Buechele. The youngster from Arlington shined in spring practice, and is now in the mix to start against Notre Dame on Sept 4.

Longhorns look to enter NBA:

  • Former Longhorns guard Isaiah Taylor ended his Texas career with his head in his hands. After Texas fell to The University of Northern Iowa in the first round of the NCAA tournament on an answered prayer from the Panthers’ Paul Jesperson, Taylor had a decision to make: stay in Austin for his senior season, or enter the NBA draft. Taylor ultimately chose the latter, and is now forecasted to be a fringe second round pick or potentially go undrafted. Joining Taylor will be former Longhorns center Prince Ibeh, who is currently projected as the No. 51 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, according to Draft Express.

Track and field heads to NCAA Championships:

  • Beginning on Wednesday, 23 Longhorns will descend upon Eugene, Oregon for the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Athletes in 13 different events will attempt to claim national titles, headlined by senior Courtney Okolo, who claimed first in the 400-meter dash prelims with a time of 51.06 seconds. Texas will have numerous opportunities to bring home national titles, so keep an eye on the Pacific Northwest throughout the week.

Recruits attempt to mesh with Smart system:

  • Following a heartbreaking loss in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, there has been a bevy of good news for the Texas basketball program. The Longhorns blazed the recruiting trail in the spring, most notably landing five-star forward Jarrett Allen on Saturday. In addition to Allen will be the presence of guard Mareik Isom, who is transferring to the 40 Acres after playing at University of Arkansas–Little Rock. While talented, Allen, Isom and the other four Texas recruits will have a strong learning curve in head coach Shaka Smart’s run-and-gun system. If they can buy into Smart’s controlled chaos, the Longhorns could have one of the Big 12’s premier teams when the season starts.