The UTEP Miners will play without its starting quarterback on Saturday night against the Texas Longhorns, but the ‘Horns reportedly could be without three key starters on offense — senior right guard Kent Perkins, sophomore left tackle Connor Williams, and senior tight end Caleb Bluiett, according to the Longhorn Network.
The school says that none were ruled out as of just more than an hour before kickoff.
However, the following players likely won’t be available:
Following #Longhorns not dressed out in warmups: Kirk Johnson, Kent Perkins, Connor Williams, Tristan Nickelson, Caleb Bluiett, Dylan Haines— Jeff Howe (@JeffHowe247) September 10, 2016
All three players in the original report are key cogs in a Texas rushing attack that experienced a great deal of success last week against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, as is Nickelson, who has been banged up.
The potential loss of Perkins for the game was not unexpected, as the most experienced member of the offensive line left last week’s game several times. Sophomore Alex Anderson would likely start in his place after performing well in his first career appearance replacing Perkins, who was in shorts before the game and appears to be out.
The other two injuries weren’t expected, as there was no public news during the week about Williams or Bluiett suffering injuries last week or during practice. Freshman Jean Delance is listed on the back up at left tackle on the depth chart, but it’s possible that someone like junior Brandon Hodges could step in to that role if Williams can’t go.
Hodges started at right tackles for Nickelson last week. If he moves to the left side, then freshman Denzel Okafor would likely get the start on the right.
At tight end, look for senior Quincy Vasser, who was just moved from defensive end during fall camp, or freshman Peyton Aucoin.
Senior safety Dylan Haines could also miss the game or be limited after suffering a head injury last week and leaving the game.