Senior offensive tackle Desmond Harrison, junior offensive tackle Kennedy Estelle, and junior wide receiver Daje Johnson are still suspended, according to head coach Charlie Strong.
But even though the players won't see the field against Kansas, Johnson has been practicing with the team and Harrison and Estelle will start practicing this week for the first time since they were suspended following the North Texas game. Johnson has been out since the start of the season while serving his third suspension since arriving in Austin.
A return by Johnson for the heart of conference play could provide a major boost to an offense that has struggled to produce big plays, especially since play caller Shawn Watson introduced the perimeter run game for the first time this season by calling several jet sweeps against UCLA, plays that were handled by less explosive senior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley.
And the offensive line could unquestionably benefit from the returns of Harrison and Estelle. Sophomore Kent Perkins struggled mightily in pass protection against the Bruins at the right tackle position and looked like a player who needs to be inside at guard, while junior Marcus Hutchins has been a little bit more serviceable, but not as good as Estelle has played in the past.
Strong still hasn't provided any perspective on what the players can do to return to the field or even when that will happen, but the fact that all three players will be back practicing with the team this week suggests that Strong may be getting close to reinstating them, with Johnson likely to be the first since his suspension has been longer and he's already been practicing with the team.