Texas Longhorns coaches have told upperclassmen players that their play needs to be well above that of a freshman in position battles because, apparently, “a tie goes to a freshman.”
Chip Brown of Scout.com’s Horns Digest reported this new and quirky development.
Most of these battles seem to be happening at offensive lineman, receiver, linebacker and defensive back, and Longhorns linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary offered a clearer perspective.
“We told the older guys, ‘If we’re at the midpoint of camp and you’re in a dead-heat with freshman, we’re going to play the freshman.
“So you have to be head-and-shoulders above them to justify us keeping you in there along with the freshman.
“Because if you play the freshman, it’s an investment. You’re building for the future.”
It’s certainly hard to argue with Jean-Mary’s logic, which he probably shares with head coach Charlie Strong. If a college athletics team brings in a top young freshman recruit, only to bury them on the depth chart because of seniority, where an older, more experienced player may not be as effective, thus grows the risk of said top freshman recruit transferring to a program where they can get more playing time and potentially up their value as they look towards a career as a professional athlete.
On top of that, it’s refreshing to see Strong and his staff take a hard-nosed approach to playing time. The goal of each and every season is to win games, pure and simple. By caring about seniority and putting less-than-100 percent effective players on the field, the chances of that goal being achieved go down.
Thus, though some upperclassmen may not like the approach and feel slighted by it, the Longhorns are doing exactly what needs to be done in order to keep taking steps forward under Strong. Now that it is known that ties in position battles go to freshman, perhaps it will motivate some of the more experienced players to step up their respective games in practice.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports