With the Texas Longhorns heading into a bye week, head coach Charlie Strong didn't have his usual gameweek press conference on Monday, but he did briefly address the media on the Big 12 teleconference.
The game time for the contest against Kansas has been set for 3 p.m. CT in Lawrence and will be televised on FS1.
Strong did not have an update on the status of injured senior defensive tackle Desmond Jackson, who suffered an ankle injury against UCLA and left the game. An Monday evaluation is scheduled for the big run-stopped, but the good news going forward is that if Jackson has to miss any significant amount of time -- if say, he has a high ankle injury -- then sophomore defensive tackle Paul Boyette looks ready to play.
After not dressing for the spring game, Boyette was a player increasingly on the fringes of the program and out of the rotation. But against the Bruins, he recorded three tackles, including one for a loss, recovered a fumble, and now looks like a contributor.
There were no other injuries during the game. Senior tight end Greg Daniels (knee) and senior cornerback Sheroid Evans (knee) have both been out with injuries, but Strong did not provide an update on the status of those two players.
The UCLA game also marked the return from suspension for senior safety Josh Turner after rumors during the week that he would play. Strong said that he had given Turner a two-game suspension prior to the season, so it wasn't a case of him deciding during the week to lift the suspension.
For the three players playing currently sitting out due to getting on Strong's bad side -- senior offensive tackle Desmond Harrison, junior offensive tackle Kennedy Estelle, and junior wide receiver Daje Johnson -- Strong said that he has not yet made a decision on when they will return.
Since the suspensions have been handled differently, it raises questions about what exactly the three players did to receive what are amounting to indefinite suspensions and what they can do to once again see the field.
Strong clearly won't bring the players back just because he needs them, as Turner is the least valuable of the four due to greater depth at his position, but a return against Kansas for even one of those three could make a measurable difference for an offense that improved by small degrees against UCLA, but still isn't ready to keep up with upcoming opponents like Baylor and Oklahoma.
With the bye week ahead, the Texas staff will be out on the road recruiting this week as Strong attempts to build a recruiting class with enough talent to fill in the obvious holes, especially on offense. The 2015 class currently sits at
As for the current group of true freshman, Strong said that the only players who aren't headed for a redshirt as those who have already seen the field -- wide receiver Armanti Foreman, wide receiver Lorenzo Joe, running back D'Onta Foreman, and safety Jason Hall.
The interesting omission from that list is running back Donald Catalon, who should be available for the Kansas game and hasn't seen the field yet this season because of an injury in fall camp.
If the Horns end up suffering an injury or two at running back with only four players on scholarship, it's possible that Catalon could see the field, but right now it appears that Foreman is in front of him in line to see carries after he burned his redshirt in the opener against North Texas. The twin brother of Armanti had a 34-yard run in that game, which still ranks as one of the longest runs this season for Texas.