Vance Bedford has a warning for his three freshmen cornerbacks: You’re dead meat.
At his weekly press conference on Wednesday, the Texas defensive coordinator said that increased playing time is coming for newbies Holton Hill, Kris Boyd and Davante Davis.
And it’s coming against TCU freak show Josh Doctson.
“If I was Josh, I’d be jumping up and down,” Bedford said. “I’d be rolling my hands. It’s new meat for me today, if I’m Josh.”
Texas’ changing of the guard at corner has been building for a couple of weeks. Though Antwuan Davis and John Bonney started against Oklahoma State, it was the rookies who played most of the game and were on the field in the second half. Hill had a pick-six, and Boyd had an interception negated by a penalty. Davis, who had three tackles, is expected to return this week after leaving in the second half with a knee injury.
“Productive players play,” Bedford said. “We’re gonna play those guys more and more each ballgame.”
You listening, Josh?
Despite facing double teams last week from Texas Tech, Doctson managed 267 yards and three touchdowns and tied a Big 12 record with 18 catches. The hope for Texas is that Hill (6 feet, 2 inches), Davis (6-2) and Boyd (6-0) will fare better against Doctson (6-3) than did the 5-9 Quandre Diggs in TCU’s 48-10 romp last Thanksgiving. Diggs was overmatched, and Doctson ended up with 115 yards and a long touchdown on seven catches.
Bedford likened Doctson to former Louisville receiver DeVante Parker, a 2015 first-round draft selection of the Miami Dolphins.
“Same number (9), size, speed, strength,” Bedford said. “Acrobatic catches. That’s who he reminds me of. He’s a go-to guy.”
On Saturday, Bedford will be searching for kryptonite to stop Doctson.
“My man’s Superman and I got Clark Kent out there trying to cover me,” he said. “I’m gonna get on my knees and say a prayer.”
Position changes?: The rise of the freshmen corners has Bedford contemplating moving Bonney and/or Duke Thomas to safety. It’s all about mixing and matching for the best combination in the secondary.
“All of those things we have talked about,” Bedford said.
Bonney, who played some safety in preseason camp, has struggled in coverage and may be better suited for safety.
Bedford not worried about recruiting: Bedford said he’s not concerned even though the Longhorns have only nine 2016 commitments for a class that ranks No. 50 nationally and fifth in the Big 12.
“Last year we didn’t have many at this time,” he said.
The staff did its best work from December on, landing the three corners, linebackers Malik Jefferson and Anthony Wheeler, quarterback Kai Locksley, and receiver John Burt.
“We’re still old guys doing old-fashioned recruiting down to the wire,” Bedford said.
After going all of August without landing a new commitment, the Longhorns picked up just one in September — three-star cornerback Obi Eboh of Southlake Carroll.
Head coach Charlie Strong said recently that many of the players Texas covets are monitoring the trajectory of the Longhorns’ season before making a decision
“You know when it’s too late?” Bedford said. “When they sign on the dotted line to go some place else. That’s when it’s too late.”