Texas set for Big 12 Media Days

Ross Burkhart

The most crucial college football questions never find answers in July. That doesn’t mean they aren’t asked time and time again at Media Days every summer. 

Conferences around the country are holding their annual media days where every team from each respective conference sends a handful of players along with its head coach to preview the upcoming season. 

All 10 members of the Big 12 conference have headed to Frisco, Texas, for the 2018 conference media days where Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby opened up the two-day event with an opening statement Monday morning.

Bowlsby boasted the Big 12 being the only conference placing a team in the College Football Playoff, the men’s Final Four, the College World Series and the women’s College World Series before praising Texas for a unique feat of its own. 

“One of the things, and I’m not sure I heard of this before but University of Texas had every one of their teams they sponsor make the postseason at one level or another,” Bowlsby said. “I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of that.”

As for Longhorn football, there is still a plethora of questions for head coach Tom Herman, who will be joined by four seniors during the event in Frisco: tight end Andrew Beck, defensive linemen Breckyn Hager and Chris Nelson and offensive lineman Patrick Vahe. 

Here’s a closer look at Texas and the Big 12:

Who Ya Got: Ehlinger, Buchele

As for the number one question on fans’ minds this fall’s starting quarterback still remains a mystery, which is likely the leading reason that a signal caller won’t be present on Tuesday. The team has not sent a quarterback to Media Days since 2013. Despite the dozens of questions surrounding sophomore Sam Ehlinger and junior Shane Buechele, don’t expect Herman to name his starter any time soon. 

Orlando, Hager look to replicate defensive magic

Perhaps the most interesting name Texas is taking to Frisco is Hager’s. The Preseason All-Big 12 member is in line for an increased role this fall and should serve as one of the primary leaders on defense. That’s no small task for Hager, though, as Texas ranked second in the conference last season in yardage allowed per game, according to
the NCAA. 

Asking for a repeat in production this season will be difficult, but not unlikely, thanks in large part to a slew of talented incoming freshmen defensive backs playing under defensive mastermind, Todd Orlando.

“They’ve proved to their teammates that they’re not going to go out there and be soft,” Orlando said about the freshman class after a spring practice. “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.”

Beck’s attempt to revive the running game

Beck’s appearance marks a sign of good measure for Texas, as well, since the quality pass blocker is looking to bounce back from a foot injury that left him sidelined for the entirety of last season. The returning presence of Beck should help to re-establish the running game and take some pressure off of Tim Beck, the team’s offensive coordinator, who was responsible for much of the team’s play calling.

In the Big 12 media preseason poll, released Thursday, the Longhorns were predicted to finish fourth behind defending conference champion Oklahoma, West Virginia and TCU.

Festivities for the Longhorns will begin Tuesday morning from the Ford Center at The Star and continue through the afternoon along with representatives from Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Baylor and West Virginia.