Herman names starting defensive backs, offensive linemen

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Freshman offensive guard Patrick Vahe (77) prepares for a play during the game against Kansas last Saturday. Vahe has worked his way into the starting role and brings a tough mentality to the offensive line.
Photo Credit: Thalia Juarez | Daily Texan Staff

After practice on Monday, Texas head coach Tom Herman was more vocal than usual about where many players sit on the depth chart going into week one at Maryland.

Herman said the offensive line could still have a bit of restructuring before the season begins, but four of the five positions are virtually already set.

“If we started the game right now, Calvin Anderson would start at left tackle with (Denzel) Okafor behind him,” Herman said. “Right tackle is still a bit of a battle between Derek Kerstetter and Sam Cosmi.”

Kerstetter started 10 games at the right tackle position for the Longhorns last season while Cosmi, who spent last year as a redshirt, has received praise throughout the summer.

As for the three remaining positions, it’s no surprise that Zach Shackelford will be returning as the team’s starting center, Patrick Vahe will fill in the left guard spot once again and Elijah Rodriguez will return at right guard after missing nearly all of last season.

“Center is certainly solidified,” Herman said. “Left guard and right guard are certainly solidified.”

Even though the three returning players have secured their spot on the depth chart, where they end up on the offensive line could change “if need be,” Herman said.

“Derek is getting some reps at guard,” Herman said. “Okafor is getting some reps at guard. Derek is getting some reps at center. Elijah is getting some reps at center.”

Another position group which has prompted speculation from fans and media members alike has been the defensive backs.

Herman listed the tentative starters for the Maryland game for the two safety spots and the two starting corners.

“If we had to play tomorrow, a healthy Davante Davis would be that corner (opposite Kris Boyd),” Herman said. “Kobe Boyce was getting those reps when he was out and then Anthony Cook would be the other guy in that mix.”

Davis has been dealing with a hamstring injury that has set him back for a portion of fall camp, but Herman said that the senior should return to practice on Wednesday.

As for the safeties, Brandon Jones will be back as a starter this year after suiting up for 12 games last season. Meanwhile, a couple of newcomers are set to fill in the other slot.

“At safety, opposite Brandon, would be Caden Sterns right now, backed up by B.J. Foster,” Herman said.

Sterns and Foster, two true freshman, will apparently be in the mix right away for defensive coordinator Todd Orlando, who’s looking to recreate last year’s performance which ranked second in the Big 12.

Texas is scheduled to resume practice Wednesday afternoon with time and location pending.