Longhorn football fans set to get first glimpse of 2018 team

Alex Briseño

As the Longhorns’ Orange-White spring game draws one day closer, offensive coordinator Tim Beck took a step back after what he called an “unfocused” practice. 

“Today wasn’t a very focused day by our guys,” Beck said Thursday. “I think there’s a lot going on with some of the kids, with school and some of their parents coming. Sometimes we forget they are 18-, 19-year-old kids still, and they’re excited to see mom and dad.” 

Longhorn faces, fresh and familiar, will run out of the tunnel of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium and play in front of a live crowd for the first time. 

“My biggest thing is we’re organized, we’re lined up and we don’t cut guys loose,” defensive coordinator Todd Orlando said. “There’s gonna be a handful of guys in there (for whom) this is their first time in that stadium playing.”

Here’s what Beck and Orlando had to say Thursday in preview of Saturday night’s Orange-White spring game: 

Defensive Back University

As prominent leaders from last year’s season prepare for the NFL Draft, new faces have come onto the scene. After National Signing Day, Texas boasts a strong strand of defensive backs in Caden Sterns, B.J. Foster, Jalen Green and DeMarvion Overshown — all of whom landed on the 40 Acres as some of the best talent in the state of Texas in hopes of bringing DBU back to Austin. 

“They’ve proved to their teammates that they’re not going to go out there and be soft,” Orlando said. “Obviously, they’re athletic and can make plays — that’s always the things you worry about. Can they handle the day in, day out of classes? Can they handle the demands, not only of us but (of) their teammates? They’ve proved to us in these last 13 practices that they’ll be in the mix.”

With a plethora of talent in the backfield, don’t expect the quarterbacks to have an easy time with the air attack. 

Ehlinger’s Longhorn sequel 

Last season, the largest question mark heading into the season lied above the quarterback position. This year will be no different. Ehlinger, however, is receiving the most questions, after getting the chunk of the playing time as a freshman. One of the biggest questions is obvious: decision-making. Ehlinger made several late-game mistakes, such as the game-ending interception against Oklahoma State. 

But both Herman and Beck said the Westlake alumnus is beginning to build his confidence now that he has one year of college football under his belt. 

“He’s making really good decisions,” Beck said. “At Austin Westlake, he probably got away with doing those things. He can’t get away with that in college football. He can’t just throw the ball up and hope things are going to happen. He’s been really good at taking care of the ball this spring. … He’s very confident right now.”

As long as the weather cooperates, the 2018 Orange-White spring game is set to begin 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.