Davis: S. Young Will Start At RB, If Healthy

Freshman RB Jamaal Charles' record-setting rushing debut has not necessarily secured a starting assignment when Texas travels to Missouri this Saturday. If junior Selvin Young is healthy (ankle), the junior would regain his spot atop the depth chart, Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis said.

"Mack (Brown) has said that if Selvin is well, he’ll start," Davis said Tuesday. "If he said that, then that’s what I’m going to say. We’ll decide as it goes on. Jamaal’s going to play. Jamaal is a good player for us. If he deserves to get the most carries in the ball game, then he’ll get the most carries. We’ll decide who’s going to take the first snap at the end of the week."

Charles is the Big 12’s second-leading rusher (116.7 ypg, NCAA No. 14) and trails Nebraska’s league-leading Cory Ross by just two ypg. His 350 yards through the first three games of his career is the highest total over that span by anyone in Longhorn history, passing Phil Brown’s mark of 269 yards set 15 years ago.

Charles’ 148 all-purpose yards per game also ranks second in the Big 12. Both Young and Charles are expected to see action, early and often, at Missouri. Young has 78 yards on 13 carries and has, in essence, missed eight of the past 12 quarters of football.

"We’ll play them both and go with the one who’s being productive," Davis said. "Certainly, at this point, we’re not afraid to play Jamaal in any situation."

For Young, it’s a situation where he tells coaches he feels well on certain days but then "he can’t do anything" the next day, Davis said.

Young has fumbled in each of the two games he has played this season, a trait not uncommon for athletes nursing injuries.

"Injured players tend to put the ball on the ground more and I’m not sure if there’s a good answer why," Davis said. "It may be that they’re trying to protect themselves, mentally, or brace for the fall."

The freebies, however, are indicative of an overall team problem that coaches are specifically addressing in practice this week. The Horns have fumbled 10 times this season, losing two, while QB Vince Young has thrown four INTs. Texas’ turnover margin (-0.67) ranks No. 85 nationally, ahead among league foes of only the Horns’ next two opponents (Missouri, Oklahoma).

Coaches are directing the defense and the scout teams to focus on raking the ball away during practice, Davis said. The staff is also looking intently at game film and practice footage to see how players are carrying the ball.

WR Ramonce Taylor practices every day at RB for at least one series. The sophomore has seven rushes this season for 79 yards while catching four passes for 26 yards.

"It’s harder to get the ball to a wide receiver," Davis said. "He is still learning the wide receiver position and all the little nuances that go with it. There have been several times when he and Vince have not been on the same page, but we’ll continue to try to find ways to get him the ball and we’re going to continue to use him some at running back. He has great ball skills but, as a receiver, he’s still a freshman."

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