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Injury to Texas RT Kent Perkins looms large for Longhorns

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A thin depth chart at tackle took a big hit on Saturday.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

During the loss to the Oklahoma State Cowboys, the Texas Longhorns had to play for much of the second half without junior right tackle Kent Perkins, who went down with a knee injury.

The prognosis wasn't good either, as head coach Charlie Strong said that it may "take some time" before Perkins is ready to play again.

To say that the Longhorns offense melted down after Perkins went out would be an understatement:

Senior Marcus Hutchins, last year's starter at right tackle, filled in for Perkins and struggled immediately. Star Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah beat Hutchins for a sack and Hutchins allowed another when he failed to pick up either blitzer on a Cowboys fire zone.

Not all of those sacks were on him, but the blown assignment against the fire zone resulted in a 22-yard loss that knocked Texas out of field goal range. And some of that responsibility falls on redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard, as he needed to get rid of the football, but if Hutchins did his job, Heard might have been able to make one defender miss. He was not able to make two defenders miss.

After Hutchins wasn't able to execute, offensive line coach Joe Wickline inserted junior college transfer Tristan Nickelson, a raw, mammoth 6-9, 304-pounder with questionable mobility. Nickelson was able to avoid any obvious mistakes, but he's most likely a year or two away from being able to contribute at an acceptable level.

Just like last year, Texas couldn't afford to suffer any injuries or attrition at tackle. On Saturday, it happened and the offense will have to find some way to overcome the indefinite loss of Perkins.