Whittaker gets first look at running back

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Football Notebook

Senior running back Fozzy Whittaker found himself atop the depth chart Monday morning, but Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron expect to get plenty of carries this season, despite being true freshmen. Fortunately for Brown and Bergeron, Whittaker and senior fullback Cody Johnson worked with their younger counterparts to prepare them for the rigors of college football.

“The thing I like about them the most is that they’re ready and willing to learn,” Whittaker said. “Me and Cody have been serving as big brothers for them, showing them exactly what to look for on film and how the plays are supposed to be run.”

Will David Ash redshirt?
With Garrett Gilbert named the starting quarterback and sophomore Case McCoy listed as his backup, the status of David Ash’s and Connor Wood’s roles are uncertain. Rumors and reports that Wood will transfer have followed him all offseason. Meanwhile, the decision whether or not to redshirt David Ash hasn’t been made yet.

“You don’t want to do with David what you did with Case last year, where you play him a little, but don’t play him enough,” said head coach Mack Brown.

Brown also mentioned that he will discuss the possibility of redshirting Ash soon.

Jaxon Shipley cracks the starting lineup
Once again, Texas will have a receiver wearing a No. 8 jersey with “Shipley” on the back. Jaxon Shipley, Longhorns’ all-time receptions leader Jordan Shipley’s younger brother, is one of three starting receivers and will also handle punt return duties. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound wideout is the only true freshman who will start Saturday against Rice.

“He’s done everything right,” Brown said. “We may get turned in to the NCAA. He wears the same number. They’ll think Jordan’s back.”

Howell impresses peers, earns starting spot
The battle for the second starting defensive tackle spot was close, but it was won by sophomore Calvin Howell. Sophomores Ashton Dorsey and Chris Whaley, along with true freshman Desmond Jackson, should see playing time as well. But Howell did well enough this offseason to catch the attention of the defense’s most experienced members, including fellow starting defensive tackle, senior Kheeston Randall.

“Calvin has made great progression over his years here,” Randall said. “He’s a lot more focused and [defensive tackles] coach [Bo] Davis has helped him pay closer attention to detail. It’s the small things that get us in trouble in this game of football. He’s just been working hard this summer and I’m really proud of Calvin.”