For the first time this year, there were not many changes made on the depth chart. Guess there’s not a whole lot to fix after a game like the one the Texas played against UCLA.
The Longhorns receiving corps took a hit with John Harris suffering a left foot injury that will keep him out of Saturday’s contest against Iowa State. Head coach Mack Brown said Monday that he would like four to six wide receivers to play this weekend but there are only three proven ones that are set to suit up — Jaxon Shipley, Mike Davis and Marquise Goodwin.
That means someone will have to step up and provide the Texas offense with a legitimate target in its passing game. Darius White, who takes Harris’ spot on the depth chart behind Goodwin, who won’t return kicks against Iowa State, could do that. White, a sophomore, was a very highly touted prospect coming out of high school two years ago and has only four career catches but will have a good opportunity to make plays this weekend.
“With John [Harris] out, we need those guys that are filling in to step up,” said co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin. “But more importantly we need the guys that have been playing to step up more. It’s not just about this next guy that comes in for John has to be Superman and go play lights-out. It’s about the other 10 guys that are playing.”
DeSean Hales, Bryant Jackson and Chris Jones are some other wideouts that could see the field with Harris out of the lineup. But Miles Onyegbule could take advantages of two positions that have taken a hit. With Garrett Gilbert out for the year, the Longhorns are left with two quarterbacks in Case McCoy and David Ash.
Junior quarterback John Paul Floyd is on the roster but not the depth chart while former high school quarterbacks like Onyegbule and freshman safety Mykkele Thompson are also being looked at. Onyegbule, who threw for over 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns as a high school senior, has taken reps in the “Wild” formation made popular by Fozzy Whittaker and Shipley. If he or Thompson, who ran for 40 touchdowns at San Antonio Stevens a year ago, took any snaps it would be in a limited package.
“John Paul Floyd has been around for a while, he knows the offense,” Brown said. “[Mykkele Thompson] and Miles [Onyegbule] have both played quarterback. So if Mykkele comes in and plays quarterback he would be a safety who would play quarterback 10 minutes a day. It would be an emergency backup situation with a package.”
Whoever lines up at quarterback will be grateful that they will have D.J. Grant to throw to. The junior tight end had three touchdown catches against UCLA — more than anyone had for Texas all last season. But for some reason it wasn’t enough to make Grant an outright starter. He and Blaine Irby are listed as co-starters at H-back.
“When you’ve got a tight end that can control the middle of the field, it helps you out,” Harsin said. “When you’ve got that threat down the middle, now you can’t just go outside and double the wide receivers and put a linebacker inside. You’ve got to keep another guy, a safety, aware of what’s going on down the middle, which helps you get one-on-one outside. It’s always good for us.”
Maybe if Grant has something like four touchdowns against Iowa State, he won’t have an “or” anywhere near his name. Maybe.
Printed on September 27, 2011 as: Horns thin at receiver, quarterback with Harris and Gilbert injured