The Texas Longhorns are now down to two healthy scholarship running backs after recent injuries to two more players — juniors Tristian Houston and Cameron Townsend, according to head coach Tom Herman on Tuesday.
Houston, who drew praise from Herman before spring practice started, suffered a hyperextended knee. A return to practice wasn’t possible, but Herman was hopeful that he won’t miss extended time after further evaluation, though the Longhorns head coach did note that he was recently wrong in that regard about senior linebacker Gary Johnson. The emerging team leader is out six weeks with a groin injury.
During Saturday’s intrasquad scrimmage, former linebacker Cameron Townsend suffered a twisted ankle just days after moving over from defense.
Herman had expressed frustration with ball security issues at the position and declared “open tryouts” to find someone, anyone who could protect the football, but it sounds like there won’t be any more moves.
Other candidates to receive reps at running back were junior wide receivers Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Devin Duvernay, but Herman didn’t want to sacrifice their critical practice reps.
“I think that would stunt their growth at the positions we’re pretty sure that they’re going to play in the fall,” Herman said. “Right now, it’s business as usual in that room. If it gets any worse, we’re going to have to be able to get through a practice at least.”
So, for now, that leaves sophomores Daniel Young and Toneil Carter as the only healthy scholarship players since junior Kyle Porter is still out with an ankle injury and fourth-year player Kirk Johnson is rehabilitating from his late November surgery. And there’s only one walk on at running back right now, senior Tim Yoder.
The good news is that Young and Carter have both recently improved their ball security — there were zero fumbles on Saturday and Tuesday.