Despite the continued standout play from true freshman Derrick Johnson
, Mack Brown
, unlike the majority of Texas fans, isn't quite ready to see the true freshman in the starting lineup. "At linebacker, we've got three guys who have played a lot of football," the coach said. "They know what to do and they don't mess up. Johnson is a great athlete who makes plays but Carl
) runs a complicated defense. We've got to make sure we're not to put Derrick in a position to make mistakes." Brown called the play Johnson made on a Houston option play in the third quarter of Saturday's game "phenomenal" and added, "He is really, really special and we're going to continue to try to get him in there. Now, the pressure is on coach Reese to give him calls he can handle. . . . We've got to get him enough practice time so he knows what to do all the time." The staff's approach to this is somewhat understandable. The inexperienced Johnson could potentially
turn a tight end or a running back loose allowing a big pass play. Right now, though, the upside of playing Johnson seems far greater than the downside. D.J. didn't enter the game until the Cougars' second offensive possession of the second half Saturday night, yet he had as many tackles as D.D. Lewis
and Everick Rawls
combined. Although Lewis and Rawls make some plays, they did not remotely dominate. Johnson did. And yes, he'll make some mistakes, but frankly, those mistakes can't be any more egregious than the ones Lewis and Rawls made Saturday. . . .
Brown said Monday that a combination of guys -- Kyle Shanahan, Tony Jeffery, Bo Scaife and Brock Edwards stepped up after the loss for the season of Montrell Flowers. The four combined for 11 catches against the Cougars. . . .
Kicker Dan Smith pulled a hip flexor muscle in the Houston game. If he's unable to play against Tech, Dusty Mangum will take over the kickoff job, as he did in the second half Saturday night vs. the Cougars. . . .
Next weekend's OU game will kick at 2:30 and will be televised nationally on ABC. . . .