Aaron Lewis became the third Longhorn DE sidelined this season. The junior was carted off the field with an inflatable cast on his left arm in the second half Saturday against Oklahoma. Lewis was not listed in Texas' depth chart Monday and is not expected to play at Iowa State. Lewis has nine career starts and leads the team with seven TFLs. Derek Lokey played about seven snaps at DE following Lewis' injury, and could provide much-needed depth at that spot when Texas hits the road for consecutive games against Iowa State and Baylor.
"I don't know yet if I'll get more time at end," Lokey told Inside Texas. "That's something we'll look at (Tuesday). I'm not real sure right now. If that's where they think I need to play to help out the defense, I'll hop out there and do it. I've done it. I mainly played defensive end my sophomore year."
Lamarr Houston, who has logged five starts at Quick DE, now slides back over to Power DE and is backed by Henry Melton. Junior Brian Orakpo is listed as a co-starter with RS-freshman Eddie Jones at Quick DE. But Texas, in essence, has three starters among its tackles with senior DT Frank Okam (32 starts), NT Roy Miller (six starts) and Lokey (14 starts). The trio anchors what is considered, when healthy, college football's top defensive front this side of Baton Rouge.
"We had it (injuries) last year in the secondary and now we're going through it with the front seven," co-defensive coordinator Duane Akina said. "It's the nature of the game. You've got to find ways to keep mixing and matching. Lokey came in and did a nice job when he played end for us."
What accounts for so many injuries at the same spot? Texas suffered a rash of injuries at WR during the preseason. The Horns lost three linebackers to injuries last season while the DE spot was also hit especially hard during the 2003 season. The 2004 and 2005 seasons were, relatively speaking, injury-free.
"I don't know why we've had so many injuries the past two years," head coach Mack Brown said, "but we've had a bunch of them. We're doing the same stuff that we were doing when we didn't have any. I don't think it has anything to do with what we're doing in practice. But 'injuries' are excuses (for losing), and we're not going to have any excuses. We've got to play with what we've got. Somebody has got to step up."
Fortunately for Texas, Orakpo (knee) and Jones (shoulder) eased back into action against OU after combining for five missed ballgames. Orakpo's injury was the most serious, suffered on a chop-block in Texas' home-opener. Orakpo registered three tackles, including Texas' only sack, in a limited appearance against Oklahoma. Jones was credited with an assist against the Sooners.
"Eddie played a few plays and we didn't think he would play Saturday," Brown said. "He only practiced one day last week. We just got so thin (at DE). He felt like he could play."
For now, Brown feels for DE coach Oscar Giles, whose roster has resembled a MASH unit.
"Bless Oscar's heart. He's trying to find a healthy one to get out there."
This Saturday, Giles will likely borrow a 'healthy one' from DT coach Mike Tolleson if Lokey lines up at the edge.
Kickoff at Iowa State is slated for 11:30 a.m. (CDT) in a Fox Sports Net telecast.
Lokey May Take More Snaps at DE
Horns Digest Top Stories
CALL YOUR SHOT: TEXAS @ KANSAS STATECALL YOUR SHOT! Will Texas leave Manhattan, Kan. with a win? HD gives the final predictions for the Longhorns road game at Kansas State.
Horns DigestYesterday at 4:50 PM
HD ONLY: Locker Room Vibe, Team Notes & MoreWELCOME TO HD ONLY - HD’s WEEKLY ONE-STOP SHOPPING FOR PREMIUM INSIDER NOTES - ONLY FOR HD MEMBERS!! IF YOU READ ONLY ONE THING AT HD - AND WE WANT YOU TO READ EVERYTHING, THEN…
Horns DigestThursday at 7:15 AM
BARON BROWNING UPDATEHornsDigest.com has the latest on five-star outside linebacker Baron Browning's official visit plans.
Horns DigestWednesday at 6:52 PM
TEXAS LONGHORNS TALK KANSAS STATEOffensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert and Longhorns look ahead to Saturday's road game at Kansas State.
Horns DigestTuesday at 4:34 PM