Texas will be down wide receiver John Burt for the second straight week, but the Longhorns also may be missing a few defensive backs for Saturday’s home opener against Tulsa.
Burt, who missed last week’s opener with a foot injury he sustained during fall camp, will remain sidelined this week, Texas coach Tom Herman said Monday. Burt had 11 catches for 177 yards last season, including a 90-yarder against Oklahoma State.
With Burt out, Devin Duvernay and Jerrod Heard should see most of the snaps at the Z receiver position.
Burt was joined on this week’s injury report by cornerbacks Kris Boyd (ankle) and Davante Davis (neck) as well as safety Brandon Jones (ankle). Davis exited last Saturday’s 34-29 loss to Maryland in the second quarter; Jones was injured late in the game.
Boyd’s injury was not announced until Monday’s press conference.
Those three defensive backs have a combined 50 career starts. Herman, using NFL terminology, described Boyd as “probable” for Tulsa, Jones and Davis as “questionable” and Boyd as “out.”
Positive returns: If Jones is unable to play Saturday, freshman B.J. Foster would be in line to receive his first career start. An ailing ankle also could open up playing time for D’Shawn Jamison, another 2018 signee who is considered Jones’ backup at punt returner.
Jones produced reasonable results fielding punts on Saturday, averaging 18.7 yards on three returns and setting up UT’s first touchdown with a 33-yard run-back. Jones fair-caught three punts, had a 27-yard gain and lost yardage on a return.
Said Herman: “But Brandon did surprise me. Not that — ‘surprise’ is probably too hard of a word, but the intent of putting him back there was a guy with a lot of game experience that also can run, but that you trust in an environment like the one we were facing. But he definitely showed some dynamism out there, and I thought the guys blocked their tails off for him, too, especially the last one.”
During the offseason, Texas lost the two players who returned punts last season. Reggie Hemphill-Mapps, who transferred to Trinity Valley Community College, was back for 17 of the 20 returns recorded in 2017. His 91-yard return against Maryland is the third-longest in school history.
Clock management: Texas was flagged 10 times in the loss to Maryland. Those penalties cost UT 102 yards. Last year, Texas hit double-digit penalties in three of its games.
One of Saturday’s flags was thrown ahead of UT’s first offensive snap when junior receiver Collin Johnson was unable to get off the field in time after it was assessed he was in violation of the NCAA’s new dress code. Texas also couldn’t get the snap off in time on a third-quarter punt.
On the latter penalty, Herman said the team was preparing to run a fake punt on a fourth-and-6 from the Texas 31. Tight end Andrew Beck, however, lost track of the play clock as he was checking out of the call and the Longhorns were flagged for a delay.