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: I was struck by the quickness with which Daje Johnson was ruled out for the Ole Miss game, making me think Texas’ most explosive player might be out an extended period of time with his ankle injury. Plus, I have severe doubts about David Ash’s availability this week. If the Longhorns are missing both players and continue to play on defense the way they did in Utah, Texas could be in for a long Saturday. And beyond.
Golden: I understand that Mack Brown didn’t want to go through another 2012, when the Horns were statistically the worst defense in school history, but if you’re going to fire Manny Diaz in the middle of a season, it should’ve been after the Oklahoma game. Texas is still good enough to get eight or nine wins, but the book is out on this defense: Hit them in the mouth and they will go away. The players have to change that perception, and that’s much easier said than done.
Riggs: Any other Monday, the news that Johnson will miss a game and that Ash is day-to-day would be the headlines. But the change at defensive coordinator stole the show. But if Ash joins Johnson on the sideline against Ole Miss, the impact on Texas’ chances of beating the Rebels will be greater than Greg Robinson replacing Diaz.
Rosner: The Longhorns missed more than 20 tackles in the BYU loss, which is beyond comprehension even for them. Last year they missed 112, according to ESPN’s statistical research department, which averaged out to 8.6 missed tackles a game. They missed 16 against Oklahoma last year.
Other Longhorns notes:
Injury report: Daje Johnson is out. David Ash might or might not join Johnson on the sidelines Saturday.
Johnson, Texas’ sophomore slot receiver and tailback, sprained his ankle during Texas’ first series at BYU. Ash left the game in the fourth quarter with a head injury. Monday, Brown said Ash also has a shoulder injury.
Wide receiver Jaxon Shipley will shift to Johnson’s slot position this week, while Kendall Sanders — who had four catches in his season debut against BYU — will start at wide receiver. The Longhorns have four tailbacks though neither Johnathan Gray, Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron or Jalen Overstreet can match Johnson’s 4.3 speed.
Swoopes’ role: It was unclear whether freshman Tyrone Swoopes or redshirt freshman Jalen Overstreet would be second team in Ash’s absence. The staff has yet to determine whether Swoopes will develop enough competence this season to relinquish a redshirt year after missing part of preseason camp with a hamstring injury. Overstreet, who has been converted to tailback, worked as the third-team quarterback in Swoopes’ absence.
“We’ll look at all three of those guys,” co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite said.
Etc.: Next week’s Texas-Kansas State game will start at 7 p.m. and will be televised by ABC. … Ole Miss is looking to start the season 3-0 for the first time since 1989. The Rebels ended up going 8-4 that year, beating Air Force in the Liberty Bowl. … Who’s Texas’ leading rusher through two games? Ash, whose 125 yards are 7 ahead of Gray. The Longhorns are averaging 6.1 yards a carry.