Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown said Monday that there wouldn't be any injury updates until Friday, but the school revealed on Tuesday evening that sophomore running back Malcolm Brown will not be able to play because of the left ankle injury he sustained in the first half of Saturday's game against Oklahoma State.
Though Texas has the depth to deal with Brown missing the game against West Virginia with freshman running back Johnathan Gray emerging in the fourth quarter against Oklahoma State to finally get the running game on track, Brown's proven patience and vision will be missed, with a great deal of pressure now on Gray to continue on the path of improvement he has shown by finishing the last two games strong.
The injuries are also starting to mount for Texas, with junior safety Adrian Phillips and sophomore defensive tackle Desmond Jackson both getting dinged against Oklahoma State as well, and the statuses of junior kicker Anthony Fera, who kicked on Sunday for the first time since the start of fall camp, junior linebacker Jordan Hicks, who is currently surrounded by rumors that he may need surgery, junior defensive tackle Brandon Moore, who may have mono, all still in question for the weekend.
Even for the top several teams in the country on any given year, overcoming multiple significant injuries, even for a few games, can be the difference between BCS appearances, conference championships, and seasons that leave a disappointing taste in the mouth of fans, even if the team still achieves plenty of success.
Is Texas on the brink of having injuries derail the most important stretch of the season over the next two games? If Fera, Hicks, and Moore can't play, along with Brown, it would unquestionably reduce the margin of error for a team that is already dealing with significant defensive issues. And provide an easy excuse to rationalize a loss.