The Texas Longhorns need a win in a bad way this weekend. As the 1-2 Longhorns limp in to their Big 12 opener against the defending conference champions from Kansas State, their starting quarterback is ready to get back on the field. Quarterback David Ash has been cleared to play and will get the start for Texas on Saturday in Austin.
Ash was knocked out of a blowout loss at BYU two weeks ago and did not play last weekend against Ole Miss, resulting in another loss. Ash was treated for a head injury with concussion symptoms. Keeping him out of the game last week was a safety measure to insure he is not being rushed back on the field at risk of more threatening head trauma. Now that he has been cleared to play we will see if Ash can generate any spark for the Longhorns.
Case McCoy will return to the back-up role for the Longhorns, and at least for now that 1-2 combo under center appears to be the situation moving forward. Mack Brown had suggested earlier in the week that changes could be made under center if Ash was not available. That suggested freshman Tyrone Swoopes could get in to the offense. The plan was initially to preserve the eligibility of Swoopes by redshirting this season, but Texas may get in to a position where getting the dual-threat quarterback option may be necessary. With Ash back, it appears unlikely we will see Swoopes get a chance to give the offense a shot in the arm.
At least for now.
There are some other roster decisions that need to be made for Texas before kickoff on Saturday. Wide receiver Mike Davis is day-to-day with an ankle injury. Offensive tackle Josh Cochran (shoulder) and guard Mason Walters (knee) are also listed as day-to-day by the Longhorns. All are considered questionable for the Big 12 opener and will be game-time decisions. Texas will already be without tight end Greg Daniels and running back and receiver Daje Johnson.
Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.
With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future. The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.
Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.
At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas. The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.
Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels. He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.
Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.
The website Gridiron.com, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August. The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.
From the site’s report:
The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.
The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”
Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”
At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations. Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.