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Hatred of losing and respect for Strong drives Bluiett, Longhorns

Don’t bother asking Caleb Bluiett whether he likes the role of the tight end in Texas offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert’s offense. He can keep a secret.

“I’m happy to be on the field again,” he said. “I know how we’re going to be used. I can’t necessarily tell you that right now. The season hasn’t started.”

Last year he caught eight passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns. The two scores came in the team’s two biggest wins — Oklahoma and Baylor.

Bluiett has always tried to lead by example. That’s why he moved from defense to tight end last year, knowing the Longhorns needed another physical body on that side of the ball. But he is also known as a teammate who’s unafraid to let others know if he believes they can do more.

“On game day I’m one of the most vocal guys out there,” he said. “I don’t like to lose. Every loss hurts the same.”

The tight end said the upperclassmen have welcomed the underclassmen, calling it a family atmosphere around the facility.

Bluiett shared his thoughts on several of his teammates.

He is trying to teach true freshman tight end Peyton Aucoin about the defenses and reinforce an important lesson.

“You can’t be great without knowing how to prepare,” the senior said. “This is what you need to see.”

Other freshmen who stood out are center Zach Shackelford and receiver Collin Johnson.

“He’s a little scrappy guy,” Bluiett said of Shackelford. “He likes to get his face dirty. I appreciate that about him.

“Collin is a 6-6 kid who can jump through the roof,” the tight end added. “He’s a great athlete.”

Quarterback Tyrone Swoopes remains the quiet guy who leads by example, the tight end said, noting the quarterback is stronger and faster.

Coach Charlie Strong said the 2015 games had been playing in the facility, the wins and the losses. And Strong said he wouldn’t allow anyone to turn off the videos. Bluiett said he’s one of the players who preferred to have the videos removed.

“(Strong) wants it to burn,” he said.

Bluiett noted the coach has changed from when he first arrived on campus in 2014, adding Strong is more relaxed and with good reason. Two back-to-back top 10 recruiting classes plus five former Baylor athletes who joined the team in July have given the Longhorns more depth for 2016.

And Strong is showing a side to him players say is genuine, such as his visit to the Dallas Police Department days after five officers were killed. That illustrated the kind of individual Strong is, the tight end said. That’s why the athletes are willing to play hard for Strong, he added.

“We realize we can do a lot that people don’t expect us to,” he said. “We’re all on the same page for sure. It makes me more proud. I’m willing to be apart of this.”

Because of the offseason work, the new players and the way all are focused on the program’s goals, Bluiett said he can’t wait to face Notre Dame Sept. 4.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “(Last year’s game), it hurt. It’s a loss. I take every loss the same. Baylor showed what we can do. I’m just as passionate as I’ve always been.”

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