This past weekend’s loss against the Oklahoma Sooners included minimal contributions from the Texas Longhorns freshmen class. Besides running back Roschon Johnson, no other freshmen scratched the box score in this one.
The NCAA redshirt rule, which made its debut last season, allows scholarship players to play up to four games without burning their redshirt. To keep track of how many games each freshman has appeared in throughout the season, I’ll list the number of games next to their names.
The six freshmen participants from Saturday’s game included: WR Jake Smith, CB Chris Adimora, RB Roschon Johnson, S Tyler Owens, DE T’Vondre Sweat, TE Jared Wiley.
Injured/DNP — WR Marcus Washington (4), LB Marcus Tillman (4), LB David Gbenda (3), WR Kennedy Lewis (2), CB Kenyatta Watson II (2), RB Jordan Whittington (1), OT Javonne Shepherd (1), TE Brayden Liebrock (1).
fUTure19 Game Notes and Highlights
- Johnson was the lone bright spot offensively alongside quarterback Sam Ehlinger. He continues to run fearlessly downhill with a tremendous burst whenever he finds a hole. His 57-yard run and subsequent touchdown turned out to be the best offensive sequence for Texas throughout the entire game. Yet, the offense started to abandon the run more and more after that drive. Johnson finished with 118 total yards on 12 touches.
True Freshman Roschon Johnson went to @TexasFootball to play QB...— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 12, 2019
Turns out he's not so bad at this RB thing either pic.twitter.com/kvrQucnk8t
With Jordan Whittington returning soon, these next few weeks (including the bye) will be very telling on how the running back workload will be handled going forward. Things are certainly trending in Johnson’s way, but the staff hasn’t given up on sophomore Keaontay Ingram just yet. He’s going to have to start proving himself to keep his starting role, though.
- In a game where Ehlinger attempted 38 passes, Jake Smith was targeted just once on a deep ball. Although his snaps were limited with Devin Duvernay in the slot, Smith’s lack of involvement was quite surprising to see. He proved himself in September and his speed was needed on a day where Texas struggled to move the ball.
The offense has to figure out how to simplify things for Ehlinger along with finding more ways to get Smith involved. Besides the bubble screens, Texas should look into implementing more quick-hitting route combinations to get receivers in rhythm with Ehlinger. The offensive efficiency on first and second downs can’t all come from runs and bubble screens.
While it may not fit the 11 personnel set that Texas uses, having both Duvernay and Smith on the field at times in obvious passing situations would likely benefit Ehlinger. The offense was chasing yards on down-the-field passes way too frequently, which eventually caused the offensive line to break down in pass protection.
- Whittington was officially ruled out for this week’s against Kansas on Monday.