Exiting spring practice, it was expected that Fozzy Whittaker and Tre’ Newton would fight it out in summer camp for the right to be Texas’ starting running back.
The Longhorns released their official depth chart Monday afternoon, and — surprise! — neither of those two names appeared at the top of the list.
Instead, former short-yardage back/current fire hydrant Cody Johnson will be the starter when Texas takes the field for the opener against Rice this weekend. Whittaker and Newton were listed as co-backups.
The 5-11, 251-pound junior shed five pounds this offseason and, perhaps most importantly, lost five percent of his body fat, setting the stage for his somewhat surprising rise to the top of the chart.
“Fozzy and Tre’ didn’t do anything differently, it’s just the power Cody brings to us, and he can pass protect, he can catch the ball, run routes out of the backfield,” head coach Mack Brown said. “With the power running attack that we’re looking at right now and downhill runs, he’s just a real load when he runs down straight ahead.”
Johnson rushed for 12 touchdowns in just 87 carries last season while averaging just under four yards a carry.
Even with the release of the depth chart today, it appears likely that there will be more than enough carries to go around for Texas’ talented stable of backs as Brown’s offense seems dedicated to reestablishing a power running game in 2010.