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Texas Depth Chart Versus Rice: Quick Thoughts, Offense

Not a ton of surprises on the Rice depth chart, but let's start with a run through the positions:

Quarterbacks:  As predicted, Case McCoy won the back up job. Obviously, Gilbert's health is critical to the season, and you should expect our usage of him as a rusher to reflect that.

Running Backs:  No ORs, as Cody Johnson wins the job outright. Frankly, that's probably a good thing, even though I expect we'll see all three backs get touches.  We're trying to establish a running identity, and it can only help Johnson to be The Guy. For what we're trying to do, this is the right move. Whittaker's a great complementary back, and Newton's a guy we can count on in third down situations. If the line performs and the scheme is competent, I feel good about us succeeding against the cupcakes. Too soon to make any predictions about performance against real D though.

Receivers:  Poor Malcolm Williams. He just can't get it together as a pass catcher, and isn't even starting. Message delivered. Seniors Kirkendoll and Chiles are starters, along with Goodwin when we're three-wide. Whether it lasts depends on Chiles' progress being real (he couldn't separate last year) and Kirkendoll producing consistently. This certainly isn't our best trio athletically/talent-wise. UCLA provides a great test for this group, and is a fortuitous opponent to help us sort wheat from chafe prior to OU. Mike Davis is right there to push, getting an OR start with Chiles in the slot. Everyone's on notice.

Tight Ends/H-Back:  Barrett Matthews starts and is as critical to the offense as anyone. His blocking ability is legit, and he's the only receiving threat we've got at the position. Pray for his health. Greg Smith will be a solid guy for us in helping to keep Barrett fresh and healthy, providing solid reps against overwhelmed opponents. Matthews needs to be out there for the bulk of our toughest games.

O-Line: As expected, Texas goes left-to-right: Hix, Huey, Snow, Walters, Mitchell. Our back up tackles are Mark Buchanan and Luke Poehlmann. Ohmygod. We need Mitchell to be healthy and competent. If he's not, or get hurts, I'm not so sure Walters doesn't move to tackle sooner than expected. Tray Allen's injury really, really hurts. (Paden Kelley presumably returns after Rice, which will help.)

Fullback: Berryhill and Roberson are the nominal fullbacks, but we'll be using the flex-TE / H-back for lead blocking as often as not.

Kicker: As predicted, Justin Tucker follows the Hunter Lawrence career path. Works for me.