Texas Football: Tom Herman Talks Virtual Spring Football Preparation

Chris Dukes

A walk through the University of Texas campus is an eery experience right now, with the normally buzzing Forty Acres resembling a ghost town due to shutowns to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Even in these unprecedented times, players and coaches are hard at work preparing for what everyone hopes will be a full 2020 football season. 

With the aid of technology, Tom Herman and his staff are working to install new offensive and defensive packages with seven new staff members. 

Having been in some of those meetings, just as a staff on Zoom and whatnot, our coaches have done a great job," Herman told reporters during a teleconference on Monday. "We couldn't meet with our players last week like some other conferences and so they used that time to make a lot of voiceover cutups. So the technology now is — I mean, you can telestrate on them, you can voiceover and really talk to your players even when you're not there and you can kind of tell them, 'Hey, this is this is what you should be watching to improve.' In the two hours that you do get face time with them the communication level is such that, I mean, it's got a whiteboard feature on the deal, you can show your screen so you can watch the video together." 

Much of the mental work began all the way back in January with players meeting with staff members for film sessions and position-specific conditioning drills. 

"I'm extremely thankful that the NCAA lightened their stance a little bit a few years ago when you started seeing — in the winter it used to be, it was like the summer where you couldn't be around your players at all," Herman said. "They moved to having two hours of film session and then it evolves into on-the-field, position-specific conditioning drills, and then just recently moved into where they're permitting walkthroughs. We took full advantage of that."

On the physical side of things, the Longhorns are continuing their offseason conditioning program as best they can with strength coach Yancy McKnight staying in constant communication with his players. 

"From a workout standpoint, at first when I envisioned it, I kind of, in my mind I had, 'OK, we'll probably have like three different programs, if you will," Herman said. "Program one I've got access to a weight room, program two, maybe I've got some dumbbells or barbells at home and then program three, I've got nothing at home.' I can't thank Coach McKnight and his staff enough. They took it much further than that and they've literally called every single one of our players and individualized a workout plan for them based on what they have available at their house and/or if they have access to a gym."