What American-Statesman staffers Kirk Bohls, Cedric Golden, Randy Riggs and Mark Rosner took away from Monday’s press conferences with Longhorns coaches and players:
Bohls: David Ash is becoming more and more comfortable as Texas’ starting quarterback. Monday, he kidded that he could tell the older reporters by how modern their recording devices are, and he told a few self-deprecating jokes. Asked what he remembered about his first extended college action against BYU in 2011, he said, “I caught a pass. Otherwise, not a lot.” Ash gets it.
Golden: At the risk of overstating his importance after one win over a bad team, a case can be made for Daje Johnson as already being this team’s best player. And even if that’s premature, then it’s hard to argue that he isn’t far and away the best athlete on the roster. On a team of good athletes, Johnson is a freak. I’m looking forward to watching him grow into a great player.
Riggs: It was funny to hear defensive players talk about how Johnson occasionally has made defenders look silly in practice with his quickness and speed, yet none of them would admit to being on the receiving end of it. Quandre Diggs was emphatic that he’s never been “Daje’d.” Responded Johnson: “I got him (Diggs) a couple of times. I wouldn’t lie to you.”
Rosner: Mack Brown feels good enough about his receivers that he might not have to use any other freshman besides Jacorey Warrick, who played Saturday. Jaxon Shipley and Marcus Johnson are in good health. Mike Davis, John Harris and Daje Johnson all caught touchdowns. And Kendall Sanders, who was suspended for the opener, is due back Tuesday.
Other Longhorns notes:
They’re back: Safety Josh Turner, who missed the opener with a lingering hip injury, will play Saturday, Brown said. And Sanders, who not only was suspended for the opener but also is recovering from an ankle injury, will practice Tuesday. BYU receiver Cody Hoffman, who needs 19 catches, 538 yards and three touchdowns to set school career records, missed the Cougars’ opener at Virginia with a hamstring injury.
Numbers are staying: The players voted Sunday to keep wearing throwback helmets for the rest of the season. They wore the helmets, which have players’ numbers above the longhorn logo, in the opener; the Longhorns’ 1963 national championship team was honored before kickoff.
“Everybody likes them,” Diggs said of the helmets.
“All of our players shook all of those guys’ hands walking into the stadium,” Brown said. “That was just really cool. I’m glad they were honored. I think part of the reason the players wanted to keep the numbers above the longhorn steer for the year (was) they want to respect the first national championship team.”
He Diggs Johnny: Count Diggs among those who are not offended by Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel’s antics at Texas A&M.
In the latest incident, Manziel mimed signing autographs while pointing at the scoreboard during A&M’s 52-31 win over Rice. He received a 15-yard penalty for taunting and was benched by his coach, Kevin Sumlin.
“That’s my boy. That’s just the kind of dude he is,” Diggs said. “Johnny loves to have fun. That’s something I respect about him. He goes out and handles business. As long as he is balling on the field and doing his job and helping his team win, he shouldn’t have a problem with it.”
Etc.: There were no changes to Texas’ two-deep on this week’s depth chart. … This is the first of three significant road trips this season, as the Longhorns will travel some 1,300 miles to BYU, then 900 miles to Iowa State next month and then 1,400 miles to West Virginia in November. … BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall has guided the Cougars to eight straight bowl games, including four straight wins.