With the Iowa State Cyclones looming as heavy favorites over the Texas Longhorns in Saturday’s showdown in Ames, the health of the Longhorns is an important storyline. On Thursday, Texas head coach Tom Herman provided the final injury update before game day.
Three more players should return to Todd Orlando’s defense — senior linebacker Jeffrey McCulloch (shoulder), sophomore safety DeMarvion Overshown (shoulder), and junior safety Chris Brown (arm) are all listed as probable. Brown especially could be an important addition to the defense, even though he’ll play with a cast on his forearm.
“The guy flies around, he’s physical as all get out,” Herman said on Monday. “We’ll see with a giant cast on your hand, if he can pick off any passes or hopefully he can find a way to wrap guys up, tackling them. I think just his energy is contagious when he’s out there... But the biggest thing that sticks out to me with Chris is energy and physicality.”
Brown’s return should allow Orlando to continue making more diverse calls without having to worry about his players knowing how to line up or their assignments.
On offense, the news isn’t as positive.
Senior wide receiver Collin Johnson wasn’t able to do much during practice this week as he received extra treatment and an injection for his hamstring issue. Earlier in the season, Johnson missed three games after playing through some pain in that hamstring against LSU, but Herman did say after last Saturday’s game that the new injury wasn’t as serious or in the same part of the hamstring.
He’ll travel with the team and will be a game-time decision, but it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of optimism about him being able to play.
And, as Herman mentioned on Monday, redshirt freshman right guard Junior Angilau is out this week after suffering an MCL sprain. Junior Denzel Okafor stepped in at right tackle in his absence and junior Derek Kerstetter slid inside to guard. That combo should be more sharp this week, as offensive coordinator Tim Beck said on Wednesday that Kerstetter doesn’t receive many reps inside at guard on a week-to-week basis throughout the season.
Meanwhile, freshman running back Jordan Whittington is questionable for the Iowa State game as he battles pain and scar tissue following sports hernia surgery in early September. He hasn’t played since aggravating the injury, which previously required surgery in high school, in the season opener against Louisiana Tech.