The Texas Longhorns could use all the help they can get on offense as the team prepares to face the No. 7 Baylor Bears. And they’ll receive a boost from one of the previously suspended players on the roster.
Wide receiver Daje Johnson will return to the lineup Saturday after being suspended by head coach Charlie Strong for the first four games of the season.
The Longhorns won’t receive added help along their offensive line, though.
Last season as a sophomore, Johnson finished fourth on the team with 24 receptions and added 178 yards. The receiver was also the team’s fifth-leading rusher with 140 yards on 24 carries. Johnson contributed as a returner too.
Baylor owns the nation’s No. 1 offense and averages 641 yards per game, which is nearly 50 more yards than any other team in college football. Texas absolutely needs a full compliment of weapons for this particular contest, and Johnson will be a welcome addition.
Things appeared to have settled down in Austin, Texas for a while as the aftermath of numerous suspensions and dismissals by Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong started to fade. Yet two of the team’s top offensive linemen, Kennedy Estelle and Desmond Harrison, once again found themselves in trouble.
The two offensive tackles have been dismissed from the team, according to HornsDigest.com‘s Chip Brown.
Estelle and Harrison were projected as the team’s starting bookends at offensive tackle prior to the start of the season. Estelle opened the season against the North Texas Mean Green as the Longhorns’ starting left tackle, while Harrison was serving an one-game suspension.
The alleged loss of both Estelle and Harrison could be a devastating blow to the Longhorns’ offense. The team’s starting quarterback, David Ash, has already been ruled out of the upcoming contest against the BYU Cougars due to concussion suffered during the first quarter against the Mean Green. Center Dominic Espinosa also suffered a broken ankle in the contest. These are four key components to the Longhorns’ offense now missing.
Junior Marcus Hutchins started at right tackle in Harrison’s place to open the season. He’ll be expected to continue in the role, while sophomore Camrhon Hughes might get his first start at Texas covering Tyrone Swoopes‘ blindside. And the team’s depth along the offensive line is extremely shaky with three new starters.
The Longhorns won’t have the chance to ease into a new starting lineup. After BYU, the Longhorns face the 11th-ranked UCLA Bruins. The Longhorns will then have a week off to lick their wounds before they enter Big 12 Conference play against the Kansas Jayhawks Sept. 27.
A strong message has certainly been made this year by the Longhorns’ new head coach, but it may be at the detriment of the team’s success in 2014.
UPDATE (10:40 p.m.): Early reports jumped the gun a little bit when it came to the dismissals of offensive linemen Kennedy Estelle and Desmond Harrison from the Texas Longhorns. The school released a statement Wednesday night which clarified the situation. Both Estelle and Harrison are suspended for the Longhorns’ upcoming game against the BYU Cougars.
As Texas opens fall camp, new head coach Charlie Strong took some time to confirm the latest decisions regarding player suspensions and dismissals that have been thrown under a spotlight in recent weeks. Strong formally announced the suspensions of offensive tackle Desmond Harrison, wide receiver Daje Johnson and safety Josh Turner, but did not reveal how much time will be taken away from them except to say they “will miss games.”
Turner had been previously thought to have been dismissed but ultimately remained with the program before following through on a potential transfer. Bergeron’s dismissal came in late July. Strong then confirmed some dismissal news that had previously been reported. Running backs Joe Bergeron and Jalen Overstreet and defensive back Chevoski Collins have all been released from scholarships. In addition, wide receivers Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander were once again confirmed to have been released from their scholarships by Texas, following a sexual assault investigation. the two receivers were initially suspended by the team.
Strong’s tough approach to discipline has been praised by Texas president Bill Powers and is having an overall positive impact on the future of the Longhorns football program. Texas needed a bit of a kick in the butt as a football program, and Strong continues to deliver it with a steel-toe boot.
When four players were dismissed from the Texas Longhorns program last week, there was speculation more players would follow. Three more players have been identified by HornsDigest.com’s Chip Brown as being at risk.
Wide receiver Daje Johnson and offensive tackles Desmond Harrison and Kennedy Estelle all face suspension, according to Brown. The trio are apparently down to their “last strike” with the program.
It should be pointed out that Texas has not announced anything and these three players may simply be facing internal pressure to conform with head coach Charlie Strong’s new approach.
If we do take a moment to consider the possibility of any of these players being suspended, it would be a major blow to the Longhorns’ offense.
Harrison and Estelle are projected to the team’s starting bookends at offensive tackle. The Longhorns lack experience behind their starters and protecting quarterback David Ash with a pair of neophyte offensive tackles could prove to be disastrous. Kent Perkins, who is projected to start at guard, would likely be asked to move back to right tackle, while sophomore Camrhon Hughes would be thrust into the starting lineup.
At wide receiver, Johnson has shown the potential to be a dynamic play maker. While it may be difficult to replicate what Johnson can do within the offense, it could eventually prove to be an opportunity for a young receiver — whether it’s Jacorey Warrick, Jake Oliver or one of five incoming freshmen — to earn playing time and possibly produce.
It wouldn’t be surprising with Strong’s recent track record to find out that one or all of these players are eventually suspended, but we wanted to stress the fact that it hasn’t happened or hasn’t been announced at this time.