The hottest song of the summer, Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” played across Wright Sports Complex on Friday as Texas opened fall camp for the 2019 campaign.
The first day of fall camp is a day to get players, coaches and staff focused on the season ahead. It wasn’t about the fundamentals and making sure every move was perfect; it was more about making sure the spirit of the team was the correct one.
“(There were) certainly missed assignments and poor technique here and there, but we’re OK with that,” head coach Tom Herman said. “As long they’re sticking their foot in the ground and running and going as hard as they can, that’s a successful practice in practice number one.”
Fall camp provides insight into how the team will shape up going into the season.
Here are a few of the top storylines to come out of the first weekend of camp:
The backfield is in good hands
Keaontay Ingram is the starting running back. Last year, Ingram averaged five yards per carry while splitting touches with Tre Watson. With Watson leaving, Ingram has been preparing himself for the work load he will carry.
“Keaontay Ingram is 20 pounds heavier and running a mile per hour faster,” Herman said.
Just below Ingram on the depth chart is Jordan Whittington. The freshman is a Swiss Army knife in terms of his ability and has been a bright spot for Herman after early enrolling in January.
“It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in 20-something years of coaching, how a guy — who had never played the position before in his life — took to it that naturally,” Herman said. “He’s our second-team tailback right now, and we’re expecting some big contributions.”
Defense is young and confident
One of the biggest concerns for Texas this offseason has been who will start at cornerback. Safeties Caden Sterns and Brandon Jones have their spots solidified after productive 2018 campaigns. The cornerback position is still up for grabs.
When the defense broke out for drills, young cornerbacks Jalen Green and D’Shawn Jamison ran out with the first team. The players don’t have a bevy of starts under their belt, but neither does the majority of the defense. However, the number of starts isn’t that concerning for defensive lineman Malcolm Roach.
“We’re way more experienced than what it shows on paper,” Roach said. “The secondary has two great safeties back there in Brandon Jones and Caden (Sterns).”
New wave of leadership
A new year comes with new leaders and players stepping into new roles. On a revamped defense, Malcolm Roach has become a prominent voice on the defense even without talking constantly.
“Being a coach’s son, I know when to talk up,” Roach said. “I know when to sit back and let Brandon (Jones) talk. I know when to sit back and let (Ta’Quon Graham) talk.”
Roach, now a senior, has been through two different Longhorn regimes and is now the elder statesman on the defensive line.
Lined up yards behind him is standout safety Caden Sterns. Despite being in only his second year in the program, he doesn’t let youth be a barrier to his leadership.
“I think anybody can be a leader,” Sterns said. “Experience, it matters, but at the same time it’s the same game you’ve been playing since you were young.”