Tuesday Texas Notes

News and notes from Texas's season-opening victory against Rice.

* Just how badly did Cody Johnson want to hold onto his job as the starting running back? Badly enough that Johnson didn't tell the coaches after he sprained his ankle on Texas's second offensive play. Johnson ran for 18 yards on the play, and struggled to cut back the rest of the game.

But Texas coach Mack Brown said he didn't know about Johnson's injury until later Saturday night and offensive coordinator Greg Davis didn't find out about the injury until Sunday.

Because of Johnson's injury, Brown said he would likely be held out of practice Tuesday, and Tre' Newton was listed atop Monday's depth chart. When Brown was asked whether Newton would have the starting job if Johnson was healthy, Brown said it was impossible to tell. On the first play, Brown said, the Longhorns failed to block adequately. On the second play, Johnson raced for a big gain, and the rest of the game, Johnson was operating with a bum wheel.

Newton did earn plenty of praise for his natural running style, his ability to pick up blitzers in the passing game, his vision and his ability to see the cut-back lanes.

On the depth chart, Newton is listed as the starter, followed by Fozzy Whittaker and Cody Johnson, who are listed in the same spot.

* There were few other depth chart chages, all on offense. Paden Kelley, who was suspended for the Rice game, is listed as the second string right tackle behind Britt Mitchell. And while there remained an 'OR' on the depth chart, signifying the players as co-starters, names flopped at the X position and the SUB B position.

Last week, Marquise Goodwin was listed first at SUB B, followed by James Kirkendoll. This week, the names are swapped. Kirkendoll was listed first at X last week, with Malcolm Williams listed second. Williams is now listed first, with Kirkendoll second.

Additionally, Mark Buchanan, Texas's utility lineman, is listed as an 'OR' at both right tackle (with Kelley) and at left guard (with Thomas Ashcraft).

* One player who isn't listed on as a starter is considered one. Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp said Texas considered safety/nickel back Kenny Vaccaro a starter, and said that Vaccaro gave the Longhorns a sixth defensive back to rely on.

Vaccaro led the Longhorns in tackles with eight, making one stop behind the line.

"He just gives you so much flexibility," Muschamp said. "Because he's a good cover safety, he's a physical player, he's a run box guy as well. You can play him in deep middle. You can play nickel and cover. He can be an emergency corner."

Junior safety Blake Gideon said Vaccaro's effort was noticed by his teammates.

"Kenny did what he needed to do to get into the rotation for sure," Gideon said.

* At the same time, both Vaccaro and Gideon were a part of Rice's biggest offensive play, a 47-yard tipped-pass touchdown that bounced off linebacker Keenan Robinson and to Rice receiver Randy Kitchens.

"I thought the guy, the receiver, was coming down with it," Gideon said. "So both me and Vaccaro came of our man that we were doubling and we both went in and tried to make a hit and whiffed, and wound up in a pile amongst ourselves.

"We heard a roar, and we thought we intercepted it," Gideon said. "And we looked up and saw (safety Christian) Scott getting (dragged) into the end zone."

* Davis said he was frustrated after the game with the Longhorns' energy level. While they weren't loafing, Davis said he was irked that there wasn't more celebration following a big block from Mason Walters that sprung Johnson on the long run. Davis said he was hollering and celebrating, and that he didn't see the same energy on the sideline.

"It looked like a tennis match," Davis said.

* Texas's opponent this Saturday, Wyoming, is fighting through tragedy.

One Wyoming football player, Ruben Narcisse, 19, of Miami, Fla.,was killed Monday in a car accident that also injured three teammates, Trey Fox, C.J. Morgan and J.J. Quinlan.

Brown made a statement Monday afternoon that read: "Our hearts pour out ot the University of Wyoming community, its football program and especially the families involved in the tragic accident that happened earlier today. It's such a sad day to see a life taken so early. Our thoughts go out to Ruben's family, and we pray for them and the families of the injured young men."

Horns Digest Top Stories