Texas safety Caden Sterns (7) warms up before a game against Louisiana Tech in Austin on Aug. 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Football

Caden Sterns, Jalen Green headline a long injury list that cripples Texas secondary

Herman on secondary injuries: ‘I gotta be honest with you. I haven’t lost a lot of sleep over it. We trust the guys behind them.’

Posted September 23rd, 2019

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Story highlights
  • S Caden Sterns out four weeks with a sprained knee.
  • CB Jalen Green out four weeks while CB Josh Thompson could be out even longer.
  • Four-week timetable means injured Horns will likely at least miss WVU, Oklahoma games.

Texas coach Tom Herman put a brave face on a bad situation Monday as the Longhorns announced a slew of injuries that wiped out almost the entire secondary.

Herman went through a long injury list after Saturday’s 36-30 win over Oklahoma State. Every player mentioned was examined again Sunday with a slew of MRIs. The results were brutal.

But if the head coach panics, everybody else will, too.

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Safety Caden Sterns will be out four weeks with a sprained knee ligament. He made a team-high 12 tackles against the Cowboys but came down awkwardly on a pass deflection right in front of the Texas bench.

Cornerback Jalen Green, who has started all season, will be out four weeks with a dislocated shoulder. He got injured going low to tackle OSU running back Chuba Hubbard. “We’re going to get some more scans, but at least four weeks there with him,” Herman said.

Cornerback Josh Thompson, a reserve who was earning more playing time, will miss “a significant amount of time” with a broken bone in his foot.

If the four-week timetable holds, it means Sterns, Green and Thompson will all miss games against West Virginia, Oklahoma (Oct. 12) and possibly Kansas (Oct. 19).

Also, freshman linebacker Marcus Tillman suffered a third-degree sprain of his medial collateral ligament on the opening kickoff. He will require surgery and miss the rest of the season.

Asked what his message was to the defense after losing so many players, Herman said Monday, “I gotta be honest with you. I haven’t lost a lot of sleep over it. We trust the guys behind them.

Texas defensive back Jalen Green (3) stares down Oklahoma State wide receiver Tylan Wallace (2) during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Austin, Texas. [NICK WAGNER/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

On the Big 12 conference call, Herman was hopeful that defensive backs B.J. Foster (hamstring) and DeMarvion Overshown (back) could be cleared to return for the West Virginia game on Oct. 5.

“The West Virginia game is certainly best-case scenario, but I don’t know,” Herman said. “I can’t predict the future two weeks out as far as how they’re going to continue to develop.”

At corner, Texas still has three players in the mix for the two starting jobs. Kobe Boyce started the first three games but has been inconsistent. D’Shawn Jamison and Anthony Cook are two backups that rotated in. Herman is also high on freshman Kenyatta Watson II.

“Right now, D’Shawn, Anthony and Kobe are going to be three guys — or really four guys, with Kenyatta — fighting for that spot,” Herman said.

Running back Kirk Johnson was also cleared to play late last week, Herman said. But he did not play against Oklahoma State. He should be full go against West Virginia.

For now, the Longhorns will take it easy this week and rest up for the Mountaineers.

Herman said the team will practice Tuesday and Wednesday, then coaches will hit the recruiting trail late in the week. Typically, the players get Friday and Saturdays off and return to work Sunday to start their next work week.

Herman stresses going 1-0 on everything. Getting through this week without another injury would be a major victory, indeed.

Texas-WVU kickoff time: The Big 12 announced the Texas-West Virginia game will start at 2:30 p.m. Central time on Oct. 5.

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com.

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