In what was a fairly newsy news conference Monday in Austin, Charlie Strong announced that suspended players Daje Johnson, Demsond Harrison and Kennedy Estelle will remain suspended, and quarterback Tyrone Swoopes pulled a Joe Namath and said that his 1-2 Longhorns had their sights set on the College Football Playoff.
There was a bit of tangible, realistic, good news for the Longhorns on Monday, that tight end/glorified offensive lineman Greg Daniels is progressing toward seeing the field for the first time this season.
Charlie Strong said senior TE Greg Daniels (knee) has returned to practice and his progress will be assessed day to day.
— Chip Brown (@ChipBrownHD) September 22, 2014
Daniels has not seen the field this season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in August. The time table at that point pointed toward an Oct 11 return against Oklahoma, so he appears to be ahead of schedule.
The senior has mostly been used as an extra blocker in his 25 career games after beginning his career on the defensive line. He has eight career catches for 118 yards; Daniels’ claim to fame was catching a 47-yard pass on Texas’ first play from scrimmage during UT’s 33-7 win over Iowa State way back in 2012, a play the Longhorns ran out of the Wishbone in tribute of the recently-passed Darrell Royal. That play was called by then-Texas offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, who has taken two jobs since then. So, yeah, it’s been a while since Daniels contributed anything of substance in the passing game.
But Daniels’ return to the field would still be an upgrade. Tight ends M.J. McFarland and Geoff Swaim have combined to produce five receptions for 23 yards and a touchdown thus far this season, so it’s not as if that position is a major portion of the passing game in the first place. Pairing Swaim with Daniels would give the ‘Horns two above-average blocking tight ends and, considering the state of the offensive line, that would be a sorely needed advantage.
Texas travels to Kansas on Saturday (4 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1).