Punt returner among the positions of uncertainty as Texas prepares for Kansas State

Posted October 2nd, 2017


When Texas released its depth chart Monday, the word “or” was attached to the possible starters at eight positions.

Ahead of a home game against Kansas State, the Longhorns still have questions at quarterback, running back and left tackle. A quartet of Longhorns may get the nod at Z-receiver. The defense isn’t immune to uncertainty since defensive ends Charles Omenihu and Malcolm Roach are still battling for reps.

Texas also hasn’t decided who will return punts.


The Longhorns have rotated between senior Armanti Foreman and freshman Reggie Hemphill-Mapps on punt returns this season. Hemphill-Mapps handled those against Maryland and USC. Foreman took the majority of them in wins over San Jose State and Iowa State.


Hemphill-Mapps made some questionable decisions on returns against USC, but his 91-yard touchdown return in UT’s season opener ranks third in school history. Foreman has netted negative yardage over his three returns this season, and he fair-caught five of Iowa State punter Colin Downing’s seven punts on Sept. 28.

Who will be UT’s punt returner against Kansas State, which is allowing only three yards per opportunity? Texas coach Tom Herman told reporters on Monday he hadn’t yet discussed his future plans for the position.

“I hadn’t talked about it yet with Craig (Naivar),” Herman said. “That’s something that’s on my list of things to talk to him about.”


UT receiver Jerrod Heard fights for yardage against Kansas State’s Lucas Munds on Oct. 22, 2016 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kan. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Injury updates: Junior Jerrod Heard is also listed as a candidate to return punts. Texas fans have only seen him line up this season, though, as a receiver or as a situational quarterback.

Heard caught two passes last week, but he was not used as a wildcat quarterback. Herman told reporters Monday that Heard was unavailable to play quarterback against the Cyclones. Heard had his hand stepped on during a practice last Wednesday and needed 19 stitches to repair the injury.

Herman also said that left tackle Connor Williams has opted for “a non-surgical treatment of his medial collateral ligament.” Williams’ knee will be re-evaluated in two to three weeks, and Texas is hoping that he returns to the field this fall. Williams was injured in the loss to USC.

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