Daje Johnson

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

HOUSTON—In his post game remarks, head coach Charlie Strong was quick to his point about what needs to happen for the Longhorns to avoid another losing season in 2015 and beyond.
 
“We got to get better on offense,” Strong said. “There are no playmakers.”
 
While both of those statements were pretty clear to many entering the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl the Longhorns’ performance in the 31-7 loss to the Razorbacks left almost no doubt to fans about the validity of those comments.
 
Junior running back Johnathan Gray ran for nine-yards on six carries but had a costly fumble in the end zone that resulted in an Arkansas touchdown. Junior wide receiver/ running back Daje Johnson, who has big-play potential, received a season-high-three touches , but produced zero yards.
 
“We didn’t execute on offense,” Strong said. "[That’s] what happens if you’re watching so much, when we have one bad play it leads to another bad play. It’s like we can’t retain our focus.”
 
For most of the evening the Longhorns simply could not move the ball in the right direction on offense. After penalties, Texas moved the ball a net of 45-yards on 11 offensive possessions including 59-yards from scrimmage the least by an FBS team this season, according to ESPN. 
 
Six of the Longhorns’ 11 possessions went for negative yardage, with only their final possession of 29-yards keeping the team nine yards from avoiding the distinction of producing their fewest yards of scrimmage in school history.
 
However, that late drive ended in an interception thrown by sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes that was returned for 46-yards, or one more yard than the offense moved the ball. Texas also scored its only touchdown on a 44-yard drive in the second quarter, an anomaly that came during a seven-drive stretch during which the other six ended with it moving backwards.
 
“We just didn’t execute,” Swoopes said. “At the end of the day that’s what you’ve got to do.”
 
After struggling in a five-turnover effort against TCU on Thanksgiving, Swoopes struggled again, averaging less than three yards per pass attempt, while losing 32 yards on the ground. Texas finished the year 5-7 in his 12 starts, and throughout the season the offense struggled to consistently move the chains.
 
“We talk about the quarterback because the ball is in his hands a lot,” Strong said. “We know that and we see that. He doesn’t always make the perfect throws, but also you got to have somebody around him who can help him out sometimes.”
 
Junior wide receiver Marcus Johnson thinks that help can come from improved leadership of fellow players in the locker room.
 
“Once people question pride in the program and things like that it comes from within the locker room and that’s something we have to take accountability for and change, “ Johnson said.
 
While Johnson did not suggest any position or player in particular needs to step up as leaders, Texas’ poor results since 2010 indicate that whoever is the starting quarterback in 2015 will need to take charge if the Longhorns are to start winning again.

Photo Credit: Ethan Oblak | Daily Texan Staff

After getting shutout against Kansas State last weekend, the Longhorns looked to rebound against in-state rival Texas Tech in Lubbock. Both Texas and the Red Raiders sat at 3-5 overall heading into the matchup, seventh and eighth, respectively, in Big 12 standings.

10:08- Final in Lubbock, Texas deafeats Texas Tech 34-13: The Longhorns are now 4-5 on the season and will host West Virginia next weekend.

10:03- Fourth Quarter 3:20, Texas 34 Texas Tech 13: Red Raiders turn the ball over on downs inside the Texas 10. The Longhorns have scored their most points in Lubbock since scoring 35 in 2006 and are on pace for their longest win streak in the rivalry since 1966. 

9:56- Fourth Quarter 6:12, Texas 34 Texas Tech 13: Red Raiders take over from their own 41 after a punt. Longhorns have rushed for a season-high 232 yards tonight.

9:49- Fourth Quarter 9:30, Texas 34 Texas Tech 13: Senior safety Mykkele Thompson comes away with his first interception of the season.

9:40- Fourth Quarter 11:47, Texas 34 Texas Tech 13: Senior running back Malcolm Brown nearly scores from 10-yards out. He scores on the next play for his second score of the game and has rushed for a season-high 116 yards. It's the first 100-yard rushing performance of the season for the Longhorns.

9:34- Fourth Quarter 13:17, Texas 27 Texas Tech 13: Junior wide receiver Daje Johnson comes up with his longest play of the season on a 30-yard run.

9:28- Fourth Quarter 14:16, Texas 27 Texas Tech 13: Senior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley scores his first touchdown of the season on a four-yard grab from sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes.

9:20- End of the Third Quarter, Texas 20 Texas Tech 13: Longhorns have the ball on second down and goal from the Tech four. 

9:16- Third Quarter 2:06, Texas 20 Texas Tech 13: Senior wide receiver John Harris continues his big night with a 35-yard grab. Junior running back Johnathan Gray follows with 24 yards on two carries. Longhorns are threatening inside Tech's red zone. 

9:09- Third Quarter 4:12- Texas 20 Texas Tech 13: Sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes is unable to complete a pass to junior wide reciever Marcus Johnson. Longhorns punt. Red Raiders start drive at their own 37.

8:55- Third Quarter 7:41- Texas 20 Texas Tech 13: Senior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley fumbles the ball after a 14-yard reception. Red Raiders take over on their own 35-yard line. The play is under review.

8:49- Third Quarter 8:54, Texas 20 Texas Tech 13: Red Raiders turn the ball over on downs on the Longhorns 37. 

8:40- Third Quarter 12:02, Texas 20 Texas Tech 13: Longhorns settle for a 42-yard field goal after driving the ball 40 yards.

8:38- Third Quarter 12:47, Texas 17 Texas Tech 13. Sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes runs for 25 yards to bring the ball to the Texas Tech 25. 

8:13- End of the Second Quarter, Texas 17 Texas Tech 13: Longhorns will receive to start the second half.

8:12- Second Quarter 0:17, Texas 17 Texas Tech 13. Longhorns turn the ball over on downs on the Texas Tech 47. 

8:03-Second Quarter 2:59, Texas 17 Texas Tech 13: The Longhorns answer with a two play 85-yard drive led off by a 68-yard reception by senior receiver John Harris who has topped the century mark for the night. Junior running back Johnathan Gray takes it in from 17 yards out to put Texas ahead.

7:58 Second Quarter 3:34, Texas 10 Texas Tech 13: The Red Raiders drive 75 yards on nine plays, scoring on a six yard run by running back Kenny Williams.

7:55 Second Quarter 4:08, Texas 10 Texas Tech 6: Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes will be out the rest of the game. Timeout Texas Tech, which has the ball on third and eight from the Texas 16.

7:49- Second Quarter 7:01, Texas 10 Texas Tech 6: Tech quarterback Vincent Testaverde completes his first attempt of the game for 37 yards. The Red Raiders are driving and now have the ball inside the Texas 30.

7:46- Second Quarter 7:12, Texas 10 Texas Tech 6: Senior running back Malcolm Brown punches it in from three yards out to put the Longhorns back in front. 

7:40- Second Quarter 9:21, Texas 3 Texas Tech 6: Senior cornerback Quandre Diggs lights up Tech freshman quarterback Patrick Mahomes to force a fumble. Junior defensive end Shiro Davis recovers the fumble to put Texas in prime position to score.

7:29- Second Quarter 12:24, Texas 3 Texas Tech 6: Junior placekicker Nick Rose misses a 37-yard field goal wide left, keeping the score 6-3 in favor of the Red Raiders.

7:23- End of First Quarter, Texas 3 Texas Tech 6: Sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes is sacked for an 11-yard loss to end the first quarter. 

7:21- First Quarter 0:28, Texas 3 Texas Tech 6: The Red Raiders miss a 29-yard field goal attempt to keep the score at 6-3.

7:09- First Quarter 4:09, Texas 3 Texas Tech 6: Sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes is hit and fumbles the ball, which was recovered in the end zone by Texas Tech for a touchdown. Red Raiders missed the ensuing PAT to keep the score at 6-3 

7:05- First Quarter 4:20, Texas 3 Texas Tech 0: Longhorns force a third straight punt and start their next drive with the ball on their own 15-yard line

6:45- First Quarter 11:31, Texas 3 Texas Tech 0: Junior placekicker Nick Rose hits a 46-yard field goal to give the Longhorns the early lead.

6:36- Texas wins the toss and decides to defer. Red Raiders get the ball to start.

6:30- Texas and Texas Tech about to kickoff. Injury update: Daje Johnson and Kent Perkins both available for Texas tonight. 

After last week’s purge, where six players were dismissed from the team, multiple sources are reporting that three more players are facing suspension.

According to Horns Digest, senior offensive tackle Desmond Harrison, junior wide receiver Daje Johnson and junior offensive tackle Kennedy Estelle have been found in violation of team rules and maybe suspended from the team.

Johnson, a Pflugerville native, has been in and out of trouble throughout his time at the University. Despite trouble off the field, he has seen success on the field. Johnson has scored four touchdown on 808 total yards from scrimmage throughout his career at Texas.

Estelle and Harrison were both expected to start this season.

If these players are suspended, it would make nine players who have been disciplined by headcoach Charlie Strong over the past week.

After sitting out a one-game suspension, sophomore wide receiver Daje Johnson is ready to return to the field. Johnson, along with fullback Chet Moss, sat out against Texas Tech for an unspecified violation of team rules.

This is the second violation of team rules for Johnson, who missed the 2012 season opener against Wyoming for the same reason. A main focus at the beginning of the season for the sophomore was that his issues were behind him, and he had grown in his maturity. Unfortunately, after suffering an ankle injury against BYU earlier in the season, Johnson has had limited big play production, and those issues resurfaced.

The Pflugerville native is listed back in his usual wide receiver position, and head coach Mack Brown said he will also be back in the mix on punt and kickoff returns.

Steve Edmond out for the season

Junior linebacker Steve Edmond suffered a lacerated liver in last Thursday’s Thanksgiving matchup and will miss the rest of the season. Edmond was injured after he took a hard block to the rib area in the second quarter, which caused him to leave the game.

Edmond leads the team in tackles with 73 and has also tallied two interceptions this season. Brown said he expects the junior to be fully ready to play again in the spring.

Edmond’s injury further thins the linebacker front for Texas, as senior Jordan Hicks and junior Tevin Jackson are also out with injuries. The Longhorns now look at sophomore Peter Jinkins, redshirt freshman Timothy Cole and junior Kendall Thompson to step up in Edmond’s place.

Texas to close out Floyd Casey Stadium

The Longhorns’ game against Baylor on Saturday will be the last contest played at the Bears’ Floyd Casey Stadium.

The Waco stadium, which opened in 1950, was first named Baylor Stadium and has become a staple of Baylor athletics. Texas fans usually flock to the oval-shaped stadium when the Longhorns make an appearance in Waco, bringing, at times, about 25,000 to 30,000 fans in burnt orange.

The tarp, which usually covers the seats in the south end zone at the stadium, will be lifted for the season finale. 

Texas has a 29-15-2 record in Waco in the 102-game series and will look to add one more to the win column as it tries for at least a share of the Big 12 title.

“I think it’s a great story line,” senior offensive lineman Mason Walters said. “We like that opportunity. We like our odds, [and we’re] looking forward to a great game. [With] that being the last in Floyd Casey Stadium, it will just be a great environment.”

Sophomore running back/ wide receiver Daje Johnson and junior fullback Chet Moss have been suspended for Texas’ game against Texas Tech on Nov. 28 for violating team rules.

Johnson ranks fifth on the Longhorns with 121 rushing yards on 22 carries this season. He has also hauled in 22 receptions for 168 yards and a touchdown.

Moss played in each of Texas’ first ten games this season, recording three tackles on special teams.  

Quarterbacks

Case McCoy completed almost 70 percent of his passes against Kansas, but threw two interceptions and no touchdowns. McCoy’s play has worsened over the last two games and freshman Tyrone Swoopes has yet to demonstrate he is a legitimate passing threat. Clint Trickett is 2-3 as a starter, starting with the upset over Oklahoma State (7-1). Though his numbers are not impressive, Trickett has saved his best games for his best opponents, so the Longhorns should look out.

Advantage: West Virginia

 

Running Backs

Malcolm Brown matched his touchdown total from last year by running for four touchdowns against Kansas. Brown has scored more than two-thirds of Texas’ points in the last two games. Johnathan Gray has remained effective, averaging four yards per carry in the past three games. Joe Bergeron’s role has decreased, but he has shown dedication in the special teams game. Charles Sims had a season-high 154 rushing yards in an overtime win over TCU, scoring two touchdowns. The Houston transfer is the Mountaineers’ biggest offensive weapon, and with 300 yards receiving on the year, he is also an effective pass-catcher. Dreamius Smith only had six yards against the Horned Frogs but has been an effective second-back, with 400 yards and four touchdowns on the season.

Advantage: West Virginia

 

Wide Receivers

West Virginia seemed short-handed at receiver after Ronald Carswell was suspended indefinitely by the program before the TCU game. But Daikiel Shorts stepped up with 98 yards on six catches in the win. Marcus Johnson has become the Longhorns’ most effective receiver, catching passes for 59, 65 and 31 yards in the last three games. Daje Johnson had a career-high seven catches against Kansas. Jaxon Shipley has been a consistent target averaging five catches a game, but has yet to score this season while Mike Davis has only caught four passes in the last three games.

Advantage: Texas

 

Offensive Line

West Virginia surrendered two sacks to the TCU defense last week, an average mark for the Mountaineers, who will face a Texas pass rush that has nine sacks in the last three games. The offensive line has helped West Virginia run for 145 yards per game in the last three weeks.

The Longhorns offensive line gave up their first sack in three weeks against Kansas, and have only given up 10 all season. Texas has rushed for 200 yards per game the past three weeks and faces a West Virginia team that has the No. 78 rush defense in the country. 

Advantage: Texas

 

Defensive Line:

West Virginia had two sacks against TCU, with Will Clarke forcing a fumble on one of them. That ended a five-week drought during which no Mountaineers defensive linemen notched a single sack. West Virginia has made 6.4 tackles for loss per game this year, No. 41 in the nation. A running back in high school, Chris Whaley has finally lived the dream of scoring in college, adding his second defensive touchdown of the season on a 40-yard fumble return against Kansas. Senior Jackson Jeffcoat’s four-game sack streak ended in the same game, but junior Cedric Reed had a career-high two sacks on the day. 

Advantage: Texas

 

Linebackers

No running back has rushed for 100 yards or more against the Longhorns in four weeks. Steve Edmond has stepped up, with 16 tackles in the last three games and an interception against TCU. The linebackers will face their toughest running game this week since facing Oklahoma. West Virginia forced two turnovers and a sack against senior Casey Pachall. Nick Kwiatkoski intercepted Pachall on the very first play, Brandon Golson earned his third sack of the season and Isaiah Bruce forced a fumble in the fourth quarter that put the Mountaineers back in the game. The group is playing at their best.

Advantage: West Virginia

 

Defensive Backs

Darwin Cook leads the Big 12 with four interceptions on the year. Cook also recovered a fumble against TCU that led to a 10-point Mountaineers lead in the fourth quarter. Ishmael Banks had his second interception in the fourth quarter against TCU, sparking 14 straight Mountaineers points. Despite the turnovers, the secondary gives up 276 yards passing per game (12th-worst in the country). Texas has the No. 16 pass defense and have not given up a passing touchdown in three straight games. Duke Thomas leads the secondary with two interceptions on the year. 

Advantage: Texas

 

Special Teams

Sophomore Daje Johnson has continued to be an explosive factor on the Texas kick return team, returning a kick 40 yards against Kansas last week. But the kick coverage team is now the third-worst in the NCAA in yards allowed, allowing 27.2 yards per kick return. West Virginia allows 22 yards per kick return and allows four yards per punt return. Freshman kicker Josh Lambert has transitioned well into the college game, knocking down a 50-yarder two weeks ago against Kansas State.

Advantage: West Virginia

Quarterbacks

Jake Heaps has thrown exactly one touchdown pass in every game this season and this will not be Heaps’ first encounter with Texas. He was the starting quarterback for BYU in 2011, when the Cougars almost stole one in Austin, falling to the Longhorns, 17-16. Case McCoy made a few stellar throws against TCU before the three-hour weather delay, but seemed as eager as a child after a thunder delay at a public pool, throwing two ill-advised interceptions. Texas also revealed a new weapon: Tyrone Swoopes.

Advantage: Texas

 

Running Backs

James Sims is on pace for his second 1000-yard season, and had his best game of the season against Oklahoma two weeks ago, with 129 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore running back Johnathan Gray was six yards away from his third 100-yard game of the season last week against a TCU team that has only allowed two players to reach the century mark all season. Kansas has allowed four, and is allowing 204 rushing yards a game this season. Gray and Malcolm Brown should excel.

Advantage: Texas

 

Wide Receivers

Tony Pierson has provided the Jayhawks biggest spark offensively, but a head injury has sidelined him the past three weeks and he likely won’t play this week. Marcus Johnson has emerged as Case McCoy’s main target with long touchdown catches in each of the last two games. Mike Davis, Jordan Shipley and Kendall Sanders also had catches of more than 20 yards against TCU. Throw Daje Johnson into the mix, and the Kansas secondary has their toughest matchup of the season.

Advantage: Texas

 

Offensive Line

Kansas is in the bottom 20 in the FBS in sacks allowed, tackles for loss allowed, and third-down conversion percentage. Much of that responsibility falls on the offensive line, which will have its hands full with a Texas defensive line that has five sacks in its last two games. The Longhorns offensive line did not surrender a sack for the second straight week against TCU and paved the way for Texas to run for 187 yards against the Horned Frogs’ Big 12-best rushing defense. Johnathan Gray could have a record day.

Advantage: Texas

 

Defensive Line

Kansas lost some depth after dismissing junior transfer Chris Martin in June and Marquel Combs, who transferred. They allowed 306 rushing yards last week against Baylor and 235 the week before to Oklahoma. Kevin Young leads the Jayhawks with 1.5 sacks on the year. The Texas defensive line is led by Jackson Jeffcoat, whose six sacks have all come in the last four games. This unit has accounted for a third of the team’s total tackles in the last two games and has helped Texas average six tackles for loss per game this year. 

Advantage: Texas

 

Linebackers

Without Ben Heeney, who has been sidelined with a knee injury the past two weeks, the Texas run game will be even more difficult to stop. Junior Steve Edmond came up with his first interception on the year last week against TCU and leads the linebackers with 10 tackles apiece in the last two games. The Longhorns are allowing 153 rushing yards per game under Greg Robinson but have accounted for only 25 percent of the team’s tackles in the last two games.

Advantage: Texas

 

Defensive Backs

The Kansas secondary was torched by Baylor’s Bryce Petty, who had a career-high 430 passing yards and three touchdowns. The game was uncharacteristic of a defense that had only given up 216 yards per game through the air entering last week, but Baylor has been lighting up the scoreboard all year. The Jayhawks will have their hands full again against a very deep and talented Texas receiving corps. The Longhorns are allowing 202 passing yards per game this year and have not given up a touchdown pass in either of their last two games, holding both Oklahoma and TCU to less than 140 passing yards.

Advantage: Texas

 

Special Teams

One nudge separated sophomore Daje Johnson from his second punt return touchdown of the season, as a block in the back penalty was called on Johnson’s would-be 85-yard score. Johnson has sparked what was a quiet return game but the Longhorns kick-coverage team is still the fourth-worst in the NCAA, allowing 27 yards per kickoff return, including a 40-yard return by TCU’s B.J. Catalon. Kansas allows 20 yards per kickoff return and six yards per punt return. Special teams is the Jayhawks’ silver lining as sophomore kicker Matthew Wyman has hit just five of nine field-goal attempts but did connect on a 52-yard game-winner against Louisiana Tech.

Advantage: Kansas

STOCK UP:

RB Malcolm Brown (Jr.)

Before last week’s Red River Rivalry game against Oklahoma, Brown had been a ghost, carrying the ball 23 times for 63 yards through the first five games of the season. But Brown practically gashed the Sooners’ vaunted defense for 120 yards on 23 carries. This marked Brown’s best performance since his freshman year and the first time he topped the century mark since last year’s opener against Wyoming. If Brown continues to play like this, watch out: he and Johnathan Gray could form a dangerous 1-2 punch out of the Texas backfield.

 

RB/WR Daje Johnson (So.) 

After a sizzling start to the season against New Mexico State, injuries had either made Johnson a non-factor or forced him to sit out games altogether. Johnson scored for the first time since Texas’ season opener when he returned a third-quarter punt 85 yards for a touchdown, flashing his impressive speed en route to giving Texas a comfortable 29-13 lead. Whether it’s in the running game, as a receiver or as a returner, Johnson has shown he has the game-changing talent to reach the end zone any time he touches the ball.

 

S Adrian Phillips (Sr.) 

For much of this season, Phillips had been the primary target for criticism of the Longhorn defense. Whether it was in coverage or tackling, he was typically the first to be blamed for the defense’s many costly mistakes. But he has rallied and played well for Texas, providing senior leadership for a unit forced to adjust to a new coordinator in Greg Robinson. Phillips looked especially strong in the run game against the Sooners, totaling nine tackles, five of which were solo.

 

STOCK DOWN:

Kick Coverage 

Although Texas excelled against Oklahoma in the punt return game, netting an 85-yard touchdown in the third quarter by Daje Johnson, the team struggled to cover kickoffs. On his only two return attempts, the Sooners’ Roy Finch totaled 97 yards, including a 73-yarder that set Oklahoma up for an easy touchdown just before halftime. 

 

WR Jaxon Shipley (Jr.)

Despite being back to full health, Shipley has struggled to make a consistent impact for this Texas offense and still has not reached the end zone this season, leaving many shaking their heads. Through six games, Shipley has 347 receiving yards, less than 60 yards per game. His numbers have dropped significantly since the Longhorns began Big 12 play, during which he has 13 catches for 119 yards in three games. Considering the connection he and senior quarterback Case McCoy have had in the past, this lack of production is shocking.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

After producing their most consistent performance since Week 1 in their last game, the Longhorns enter this week primed to be more agile.

Sophomore running back/wide receiver Daje Johnson is expected to return to the lineup for Thursday night’s game at Iowa State. Johnson missed the last two contests after suffering a left ankle sprain on just the third play of the game against Brigham Young University on Sept. 7.

The sophomore opened the season with a memorable performance against New Mexico State in Texas’ first game, hauling in three receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 62 yards and a score. He remains behind junior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley on the Longhorns’ depth chart, but he hopes to make a significant impact on an offense with a number of key players battling injuries.

Junior quarterback David Ash (concussion), senior wide receiver Mike Davis (ankle) and junior tight end Greg Daniels (foot) each begin the week day-to-day. Head coach Mack Brown remains hopeful his starters will be able to play, but he said it is up to the training staff to clear them.

“If they’re limited in practice, they tell us they’re limited,” Brown said. “We are really not at liberty to even encourage the guys to practice. What they will do with David, like with Mike Davis and Greg Daniels, is they’ll continue to monitor them until game time, or at least Wednesday night and they will tell us whether they will play or not.”

Ash returned last week after suffering a concussion against Ole Miss in Week 3, but he left following the first half after showing concussion symptoms. If Ash remains unable to play Thursday, senior quarterback Case McCoy will start for the second time this season, with freshman quarterback Tyrone Swoopes serving as his backup.

Texas ruled out junior right tackle Josh Cochran, who missed the Longhorns’ last game after aggravating a previous shoulder injury against Ole Miss. Sophomore offensive lineman Kennedy Estelle starts in his place after filling in admirably against Kansas State.

Senior left guard Trey Hopkins expects the Texas offensive line to perform well in Cochran’s absence once again, as he believes the teams’ depth and ability to put multiple players in each position allows it to avoid a drop off.

“When situations like that arise, it’s not a problem,” Hopkins said. “Just the way that we prepare in practice, moving guys around, we’re not letting anyone just settle into one position. Knowing you have to be able to play all of them really helps in game situations.”

Photo Credit: Joe Capraro | Daily Texan Staff

Sophomore running back/wide receiver Daje Johnson entered the season without a defined role in the Texas offense.

Two weeks later, the Longhorns are searching for ways to replace his production.

Johnson is inactive for Saturday’s game against Ole Miss after suffering a left ankle injury on just his second carry against BYU, and is currently rolling around campus on a motorized scooter. Co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite said that while the team employs certain plays that revolve around Johnson’s speed, he does not expect to change the offensive game plan much without the sophomore in the lineup.

“There are certain things that he can do and certain plays that we wanted to get the ball in his hands specifically for, but we can still run,” Applewhite said. “We aren’t as explosive without
that guy.”

After recording 287 yards through the air while rushing for 203 yards as a freshman last season, Johnson broke out in his first game of 2013 with 129 yards of total offense and two touchdowns. While this production is difficult to replace, senior offensive guard Mason Walters expects someone to step up in
his absence.

“It’s tough because Daje showed last year and this week that he’s a big-time playmaker,” Walter said. “There’s a void right now and somebody has a chance to step up. I hope he gets back as quickly as possible. Nobody is irreplaceable. We’re going to play a game on Saturday, and somebody is going to have to step up and
show up.”

One player who could see an increase in touches is junior running back Malcolm Brown. Despite opening the year as one of the top three running backs on the Texas depth chart, Brown is just sixth on the Longhorns with 18 yards on the ground on only six carries.

Brown is the Longhorns’ most active receiver in the backfield, compiling 124 yards and a touchdown through the air on five receptions. The junior realizes that Johnson’s contributions are tough to replicate, but he expects the Texas skill position players to be up to the task.

“We’ll miss Daje on the field but at same time we have guys that can take over that roll,” Brown said. “Fast guys and young receivers can get out there and do that job. They know those plays so we’ll just have someone step up for us. We’ll still be running the same plays; we’ll just have some guys step up into that roll.”

The Longhorns must also account for the hole left by Johnson at wide receiver. Senior wide receiver Mike Davis, who leads the Longhorns with 177 receiving yards and three touchdowns, figures to see even more targets without Johnson, while junior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley and sophomore wide receiver Kendall Sanders take on new roles within the offense.

“With Daje out, Jaxon Shipley will go to the slot, and Kendall Sanders will move to the wide receiver spot across from Mike Davis,” head coach Mack Brown said. “Kendall made some good plays Saturday night. Mike and Jaxon Shipley made some great plays.”

The loss of Johnson presents a challenging obstacle for the Texas offense, but the Longhorns believe they possess the pieces to step up without their
standout sophomore.