The Texas Longhorns will be without five players during the 15 spring practices that start on Wednesday, while several others will only see limited action, according to a statement released by the school on Tuesday.
Sophomore wide receiver Roderick Bernard (knee), junior defensive end Caleb Bluiett (knee), senior defensive tackle Desmond Jackson (foot), redshirt freshman defensive tackle Chris Nelson (shoulder), and redshirt freshman defensive end Derick Roberson (shoulder) are all out this spring.
Less serious injuries to redshirt freshman running back Donald Catalon (knee), senior offensive guard Sedrick Flowers (back), junior defensive tackle Alex Norman (back), and junior defensive end Quincy Vasser (knee) will also limit those players to some extent.
All told, six of the 12 Texas defensive lineman are either out for spring practice or limited by injuries.
Some of the news isn't surprising -- Bernard and Bluiett both tore their ACLs late last season, so they weren't expected to participate in the practices leading up to the annual Orange-White game on April 18. For players like Nelson and Roberson, though, missing spring practice after injuries limited them last fall will set back their respective developments and keep the coaches from being able to accurately place them in a pecking order before the rest of the freshmen arrive in June.
Roberson in particular looks like a player who could have a breakout season this fall based on his skill set, while Nelson is at a need position without much proven depth.
There are also some ramifications for the limited players -- enrolling early was supposed to help Vasser stake a claim to the strong-side defensive end position vacated by Cedric Reed. Norman didn't play last season after the first two games because of his back injury, which is at the least a major setback to a career that hasn't featured any highs over than a sack against North Texas in the opener last season. And Catalon redshirted in large part because of a hamstring injury sustained in fall camp last year and has now been hurt dating back to his senior year in high school. As for Flowers, he's as entrenched as any of the starting offensive linemen, so first-team reps could end up benefitting a player behind him on the depth chart.
On a team with limited depth that just lost a handful of starters, not having some of these players available this spring is a not insignificant setback to head coach Charlie Strong's efforts to return the program to national prominence.