Texas Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong declined to say during fall camp how long his three suspended players would sit out this fall, but at least partly revealed his decision on Monday morning during his game week press conference for BYU.
Senior offensive tackle Desmond Harrison, who had been playing on the right side during the last part of fall camp, has worked his way back into the good graces of his head coach and will play against the Cougars on Saturday evening.
Senior safety Josh Turner and junior wide receiver Daje Johnson will miss at least one more game for their own violations of team rules.
For the immediate future, Harrison may be the most important of the three players -- although junior Marcus Hutchins filled in admirably given the low expectations that had surrounded his Texas career for some time, Harrison is bigger, stronger, and more athletic than Hutchins and could be an immediate upgrade if he can finally start turning all of his potential into production.
If it doesn't happen, at least the Horns appear to have found a back up who can provide average play at the position, which was hardly a given heading into fall camp.
As for Johnson, his continued suspension is also a significant blow for an offense that hardly proved adept at creating big plays against North Texas, even with David Ash as the starter. Johnson would provide some needed speed and home-run ability, but when Case McCoy replaced Ash last year, the effectiveness of Johnson in the passing game decreased significantly -- it wouldn't be surprising if the same happens with sophomore Tyrone Swoopes if he ends up starting multiple games in the likely absence of Ash.
Turner is the player who may be on the outside looking in when he returns. At this point, he has a better chance of earning playing time backing up senior Mykkele Thompson after the emergence of sophomore Adrian Colbert, sophomore Dylan Haines, and true freshman Jason Hall at the other spot. Haines is now on scholarship and looked steady while providing an interception, while the same was true of Colbert, who also picked off an errant Mean Green pass.