• Bedford confident in freshmen, recruiting

    Texas defense undergoing youth movement

    Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said Wednesday that he hopes to play more freshmen as the season progresses.

    “They’re going to be very good one day,” Bedford said. “They’re growing and getting better, and they’re going to play a lot of football for us this year.”

    The Longhorns played their largest variety of freshmen during Saturday’s win against Kansas. Specifically, freshmen safety DeShon Elliott and defensive end Charles Omenihu played their first major stints this season. Additionally, freshmen mainstays in cornerback Holton Hill and linebacker Malik Jefferson continued to shine. Bedford said the freshmen class has earned its chance despite the players' inexperience.

    “We’re playing all those guys for one reason,” Bedford said. “They’re all good players. They’re very young, but they’re all good players, and they’ve made plays for us this season."

    Bedford confident about recruiting

    The Longhorns have just nine players committed to their 2016 recruiting class, but Bedford isn’t worried about the early shortage.

    “Why would I be?” Bedford said. “At this time [last year], the same questions were asked, and they got answered on signing day. They’re [going to] be answered again on signing day — one way or the other.”

    According to 247Sports, Texas finished with the No. 9 recruiting class last February. Bedford emphasized that the program can only improve if the team replicates its recruiting success from last season. He said he thinks that goal is attainable and that the program is an easier sell this year.

    “I think this year, because it’s our second season into it, we’re getting a lot better responses,” Bedford said. “I think word got out that [head coach Charlie Strong] cares about the kids. … And at the end of the day, I think the University of Texas sells itself.”

  • Former Longhorn Drew Stubbs enters free agency

    Former Longhorns outfielder Drew Stubbs is looking for a new place to call home. After his contract with the Texas Rangers expired following the 2015 season, Stubbs is now a free agent.

    Stubbs had a stellar 2014 campaign with the Colorado Rockies, finishing with a career-high .289 batting average, 22 doubles, 15 homeruns and 20 stolen bases in 424 plate appearances.

    However, Stubbs was unable to keep his performance up in 2015 as he hit for a dismal .216 batting average with only 22 hits and 10 RBIs in 51 games. His performance caused the Rockies to release Stubbs.

    Stubbs was eventually picked up by the Rangers organization after he signed a minor league deal for Triple-A Round Rock Express. The Rangers called Stubbs up just before the postseason, but he compiled just two hits in 27 games. 

    Despite his poor 2015 campaign, Stubbs should find a spot on an MLB roster due to his impressive speed. During his career, Stubbs has 152 steals in 182 attempts, making him an ideal pitch runner late in games.

    Stubbs is also known for his defensive skills. Rangers’ manager Jeff Banister elected to use Stubbs as a defensive replacement numerous times during his time with Texas. In a game against the Detroit Tigers, Stubbs made a remarkable running catch to end the game and preserve the Rangers’ victory. Thad Levine, Texas Rangers assistant general manager, called Stubbs’ catch “one of the most memorable in recent history for the Rangers.”

    For teams in need of outfield depth, Stubbs could provide a cheap option as a utility outfielder in the coming years.

  • Addison to compete in USTA/ITA championships

    Sophomore Breaunna Addison will represent Texas on Thursday in the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships. The tournament will run through Sunday and will be held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York. 

    Addison will look to continue playing at a high level following a victory in her only match at the Kitty Harrison Invitational. The two-time All-American is the only Longhorn competing in the event. 

    The NIIC features 32 of the nation’s top singles players as well as the top 20 men’s and women’s doubles teams. Addison qualified for the championships through her singles title in the Texas Regional Championships. 

    As she competes in New York, her teammates will head to Arizona State for the ASU Thunderbird Invitational. The tournaments mark the last major events of the fall collegiate tennis season. 

  • Texas still searching for leaders, attitude change

    Program’s struggles frustrate Bedford

    Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said Wednesday that he’s angered by the program’s struggles. His frustration comes after a 24-0 loss to Iowa State — just the second loss to the Cyclones in program history.

    “The players understand the pride I have in this university because I’ve played here,” Bedford said. “That’s not where we are right now. It’s not acceptable to be where we are.”

    Bedford emphasized the need to discourage the players’ entitled attitude He said the Longhorns seem overly complacent playing for a historically successful team. Instead, he said the players need to create their own success to restore the program’s winning tradition.

    “Quit walking around and saying I have this uniform on and [being] content just to put the uniform on,” Bedford said. “Go put your stamp on what it means to be a Longhorn. That means every day in practice and every ball game. You’re fired up to represent all the great players and great teams and coaches that came before you. “

    Coaching staff looks to facilitate leadership

    Bedford said senior linebacker Peter Jinkens and senior cornerback Duke Thomas have emerged as the defense’s leaders. However, he still wants more leaders to step up to get the team back on track.

    “I think everybody has a certain amount of leadership qualities in him,” Bedford said. “If you’re a freshman and have leadership qualities, let’s go.”

    Several freshmen already see snaps on defense. Particularly, freshman linebacker Malik Jefferson and freshman cornerback Holton Hill are already solidifying themselves as defensive staples.

    But Bedford thinks the freshmen can do more to lead the team in the right direction. He said the coaches are encouraging younger players to make an impact both on and off of the field.

    “This staff doesn’t believe in waiting your turn,” Bedford said. “If you have leadership qualities in a freshman we want to enhance what you have to bring it out — not squash it.”

  • Norvell calls for improved passing game

    Wide receivers coach and head play-caller Jay Norvell said Tuesday that he’s not satisfied with Texas’ passing game following the team’s 24-0 loss to Iowa State. The Longhorns threw for just 85 yards in the defeat.

    “I’m very, very disappointed,” Norvell said. “We didn’t throw the ball accurately. We didn’t throw it on time. We didn’t make plays down the field. We all had a hand in it. … We have to learn from this.”

    Redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard completed just six passes for 26 yards as the team’s starter. He said that he didn’t like what he saw when he watched film of his performance but can’t get too down about the team’s struggles.

    “[Quarterbacks] coach [Shawn] Watson always tells me that the quarterback has to have the shortest memory out there,” Heard said. “Even if I threw a touchdown, I can’t get all happy. I got to keep fighting and keep throwing touchdowns. If I throw an interception, I can’t get down on it and let that be the result of the whole game.”

    Texas now ranks No. 122 in both passing yardage and total passing attempts. The team is eager to rebound against a winless Kansas team that ranks in No. 127 in passing defense.

    “I live for Saturday, so I want to get back out there,” Heard said. “It was just one of those games where it didn’t fall for you … We can’t [cry] because we have four more games.”