Texas Depth Chart Filled With Youth

On Monday, the Texas Longhorns released their first official depth chart of the 2008 season and 21 freshmen (10 true, 11 redshirt) are on the two- or three-deep.

At no position is the youth on the Texas roster more apparent than at safety.

Because junior Ishie Oduegwu is out after undergoing shoulder surgery Monday morning, every single available safety is either a redshirt or a true freshman. Every one of those freshmen also have an "or" next to their name, meaning that there are no set starters at safety.

"All five of those guys could start on Saturday. They have not separated enough," said head coach Mack Brown.

Competition is also tight at wide receiver. Because a third receiver hasn't been settled upon, seniors Quan Cosby and Jordan Shipley get the starting nods at split end and flanker, with the most likely third receiver, Malcolm Williams, listed at Sub-B (slot). But hanging tight with Williams are Brandon Collins, James Kirkendoll and Dan Buckner, among others.

"We would not have a third receiver right now," said Brown. "We're still looking. We have it then it goes and changes. Somebody needs to step up for our three-wideout set before this weekend."

There's also competition at positions where there wasn't expected to be.

The general assumption has been that Blaine Irby is locked in as the starter at tight end, but 295-pound Greg Smith, who was moved to tight end from tackle during August camp, comes in listed as a co-starter. Irby is listed first, which generally means a player has an edge, but according to Brown, Smith has come on as of late and whether or not he is the starter will depend on the situation.

"Blaine Irby and Greg Smith are either-or at tight end," said Brown. "Greg Smith is a 295-pound guy that is really helping us in the running game and in short-yardage and goal line."

Fullback is a toss-up between senior used-to-be-walk-on Luke Tiemann, who was given a scholarship on Friday, and redshirt freshman bruiser Cody Johnson and Brown did mention that Johnson may play some at tailback as well.

Speaking of the running backs, Vondrell McGee and Chris Ogbonnaya are co-starters at tailback and they're trailed closely by Foswhitt Whittaker. Of course, regardless of their arrangement on the official depth chart, all three will get a great deal of playing time as Texas is expected to use a tailback by committee approach.

On the defensive line, senior Aaron Lewis shows up at multiple positions. Although not expected to step out with the ones on Saturday, Lewis is listed as a co-starter at both defensive tackle behind Lamarr Houston and power defensive end behind Henry Melton.

At LB, the expected outside linebackers are there with Sergio Kindle and Roddrick Muckelroy working at strong and weak, respectively, and junior Jared Norton is hanging tight with senior Rashad Bobino in the middle. Both Norton and Bobino are listed as co-starters at the position.

Of course, that's just beginning to describe the battles that are going on up and down the roster. The depth chart is only a representation of where the team is as of Monday and players will continue to work this week to secure their spot on the field. According to Brown, there's still a lot to figure out before the team straps on the pads and hits the field at Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

"We're trying to make more decisions right now at this time of the year than we ever have," said Brown.

Kick-off is set for 6 p.m.

Official Depth Chart

OFFENSE
Position No. Player | No. Player | No. Player
Flanker (Z) 8 Jordan Shipley | 11 James Kirkendoll      
Tight End (Y) 19 Blaine Irby OR 83 Greg Smith | 86 Peter Ullman
Right Tackle 64 Kyle Hix | 72 Britt Mitchell | 76 Aundre McGaskey
Right Guard 55 Cedric Dockery | 63 Michael Huey
Center 71 Chris Hall | 65 Buck Burnette | 75 Steve Moore
Left Guard 52 Charlie Tanner | 78 David Snow      
Left Tackle 74 Adam Ulatoski | 56 Tray Allen
Split End (X) 6 Quan Cosby | 4 Dan Buckner | 85 D.J. Grant
Tailback 2 Vondrell McGee OR
|
3
28
Chris Ogbonnaya
Fozzy Whittaker
OR
|
31
25
Cody Johnson
Jeremy Hills
Fullback 31 Cody Johnson OR 49 Luke Tiemann      
Note: 99 Roy Miller and 44 Rashad Bobino will also play fullback in short yardage and goal-line situations.
Quarterback 12 Colt McCoy | 7 John Chiles | 17 Sherrod Harris
Sub-B 9 Malcolm Williams OR 5 Brandon Collins      
Place-Kicker 39 Ryan Bailey | 15 Hunter Lawrence OR 9 Justin Tucker

DEFENSE
Position No. Player | No. Player | No. Player
DE (Quick) 98 Brian Orakpo | 81 Sam Acho | 97 Russell Carter
Nose Tackle 99 Roy Miller | 92 Ben Alexander OR 94 Michael Wilcoxon
Tackle 36 Lamarr Houston OR 95 Aaron Lewis | 91 Kheeston Randall
DE (Power) 37 Henry Melton OR 95 Aaron Lewis | 32 Eddie Jones
Strongside LB 2 Sergio Kindle | 1 Keenan Robinson      
Middle LB 44 Rashad Bobino OR 11 Jared Norton | 42 Dustin Ernest
Weakside LB 38 Roddrick Muckelroy | 18 Emmanuel Acho OR 42 Dustin Ernest
Right CB 13 Ryan Palmer | 3 Curtis Brown | 4 Aaron Williams
Right Safety 12 Earl Thomas OR 6 Christian Scott      
Left Safety 21 Blake Gideon OR 27 Nolan Brewster OR 5 Ben Wells
Left CB 7 Deon Beasley OR 8 Chykie Brown | 4 Aaron Williams
Punter 17 Trevor Gerland OR 9 Justin Tucker OR 47 John Gold

SPECIALISTS
Position No. Player | No. Player
Kickoffs 9 Justin Tucker OR 15 Hunter Lawrence
Punt Returns 6 Quan Cosby | 8 Jordan Shipley OR 3 Curtis Brown
Kickoff Returns 6
8
Quan Cosby
Jordan Shipley
|
|
8
9
Chykie Brown
Malcolm Williams

OR

6

Christian Scott
Holder 8 Jordan Shipley | 17 Sherrod Harris | 21 Blake Gideon
Deep Snapper (PAT/FG) 83 Greg Smith | 72 Britt Mitchell  
Deep Snapper (Punts) 58 William Harvey | 48 Alex Zumberge  

HornsDigest.com Recommended Stories