Coming off a team-wide poor performance against the Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday, the Texas Longhorns have made several changes to the depth chart for the game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Lubbock this weekend.
One of the changes was a result of the ACL tear suffered by freshman wide receiver/kick returner Roderick Bernard. As expected, sophomore wide receiver Jacorey Warrick and freshman wide receiver Armanti Foreman will take over those duties. On the season, Foreman has returned three kicks for 54 yards, while Warriack has not returned any kicks in his two-year career.
Junior cornerback Duke Thomas and junior wide receiver Marcus Johnson have also seen time on the kickoff return unit.
Two other changes were the result of poor performances against Kansas State.
Sophomore offensive tackle Camrhon Hughes earned his second straight start against the Wildcats after a decent performance against the Cyclones the week before. However, on Saturday Hughes looked like the player who had earned the nickname of NCAA (No Contact At All) from his coaches, often having difficulties finding targets in the running game and notably struggling in pass protection with slow feet.
As a result, redshirt freshman Darius James will get his third start at right tackle after trotting out with the ones against Baylor and Oklahoma at that position.
Another injury could impact whether James plays there the entire game, as head coach Charlie Strong said on Monday that sophomore right guard Kent Perkins is day to day after he suffered a knee injury early in the game against Kansas State. Perkins was able to return, but struggled.
And James didn't have his best performance of the season against Kansas State, either, giving up pressure on a twist and failing to make contact pulling on the crucial 4th and 1 play that the Longhorns failed to convert.
The younger Hughes brother also had a poor outing. Redshirt freshman defensive end Naashon Hughes is now listed as a co-starter with sophomore defensive end Caleb Bluiett at the Fox position.
Bluiett flashed with a seven tackles (six solo), three tackles for loss, and a sack, while Hughes only had one tackle, missed an assignment, wasn't hustling, and got called for a critical hands to the face penalty that allowed Kansas State to convert on a 3rd and 8 that would have gotten Texas off the field because the play ultimately resulted in an incomplete pass.
The biggest question might be why Bluiett hasn't won the job outright given that his performance was light years better than his competition, but his effort also had flaws with several plays that weren't good enough, among them a missed tackle and loss of contain.
The hope for the coaching staff is clearly that a little shake up of the depth chart will pay dividends on the field as the Horns look for their fourth win of the season against the Red Raiders.