Lokey Out: Miller & Co. Fill the Void at NT

Texas NT Derek Lokey has been sidelined indefinitely with a fractured left leg, it was announced Monday. The Longhorns have been a walking MASH unit this season, but that means it's Miller time on the defensive front.

Sophomore Roy Miller will notch his second collegiate start when the Longhorns travel to Texas Tech, 6:00 p.m. (CDT) Saturday. Derek Lokey will undergo surgery later this week to repair a fibula fracture to his lower left leg suffered in the second quarter of Texas' 22-20 win at Nebraska.

"It was after the play was over, and Derek was on the ground and someone fell on him," Coach Mack Brown said. "It was very, very unfortunate. Boy, was he playing great in this game."

In fact, Lokey had tied his career-best for a single-game with four tackles in little more than one quarter of work before he suffered the injury. While supportive of Lokey, Brown emphasized the depth Texas has along its defensive front during Sunday's team meeting as well as exhorting another defensive player to step-up following the latest injury to hit the unit. Heading the cast is Miller, listed atop this week's depth chart at NT ahead of junior Thomas Marshall and up-and-coming freshman Ben Alexander.

"We've always considered Roy a starter," Co-Defensive Coordinator Gene Chizik said. "We always felt that those three (Miller, Lokey, Frank (Okam) were kind of a triangle of starters like (Brian) Orakpo, (Brian) Robison and Tim (Crowder)."

Miller was the only Five-Star signee in the 2005 recruiting class and played last season as a true freshman. His first start was against Baylor on October 14, subbing for injured Frank Okam. Miller has 14 tackles this year, including three TFL and 2.5 sacks.

"We've been pleased with Roy," Chizik said. "Like everybody else, we'd like him to get better each week but he's really held his own these last couple of weeks."

Lokey started all eight games this season, registering 24 tackles, four TFL, nine QB sacks and a fumble recovery.

"You hate it for him because he's such a great kid and does everything right," Brown said. "He's a 4.0 student and plays so hard. He's a spirit to the team. This is a bad thing to happen to a great person."

Brown has not ruled out the possibility of playing Robison and Crowder (some) at DT. But coaches are heartened (practically ecstatic, actually) by the recent emergence of Aaron Lewis. The versatile sophomore, who backs Robison and DT Frank Okam, immediately made his presence known in a hurry Saturday after Lokey went down and Robison's leg tightened in the frigid temperatures. Lewis came at QB Zac Taylor like a heat-seeking missal on Nebraska's second series of the second quarter, forcing an errant toss that SS Michael Griffin intercepted at the Texas 45. It led to a one-play 55-yard TD strike to SE Limas Sweed. Then, Nebraska's next series ended when Lewis forced -- and recovered – a Taylor fumble at the end of an eight-yard sack.

"Every game we put him in, he makes plays," Brown said. "We're so excited about him. He's one of the stories of the year because he came from nowhere. He's unselfish. We'll play him at tackle for about 10 plays, and we'll play him at end for 15 plays. He never gripes and he stays positive. He's showing up every week. He made some plays last year, but we weren't sure that he'd be playing as well as he's playing this year."

Lewis' performance is indicative of this year's injury-riddled defense, Brown believes.

"That's been the story of this team so far," Brown concluded. "Someone has had to step up."

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