clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Shooting From the Hip: Offensive Depth Chart

New, 31 comments
NCAA Football: Texas at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

We’re in the third and final week of Summer Camp, and as camp winds down we should see some official Charts Of Depth coming out of Bellmont by the end of the week.

But why wait? Let’s roll the dice, shoot from the hip and see if we can predict how things will shake out based on the camp scuttlebutt to date.

Quarterback

  1. Shane Buechele
  2. Sam Ehlinger
  3. Jerrod Heard (Ulp.)

The quarterback competition seemingly heated up over the past few days, and Tom Herman wasn’t shy about loving up on Sam Ehlinger coming out of Saturday’s scrimmage. With that out of the way...this is Buechele’s team and his offense. Herman runs a pretty tight ship when it comes to the flow of insider-y info, but the QB chatter has universally praised Buechele’s accuracy and his speed in getting through his reads and getting the ball out of his hands. His connection with Collin Johnson sounds off-the-charts good, and his ability to fully weaponize the sophomore superstud defines the offense’s ceiling.

For Sam’s part, the idea of a redshirt has been a goner since Spring ball by dint of a simple glance at the depth chart. He’ll play, and the ceiling on his snaps may be going up as he’s rapidly improving his read progressions and command of the pocket. We’ll likely get our first look at him during coup de grace snaps against Maryland and San Jose State, and it feels even more likely that he’ll earn a few change-up series each game.

For a depth chart that goes True Soph/True Frosh/Hey Throw A Receiver In There, things are going as well as anyone could have reasonably hoped for at QB.

Running Back

  1. Chris Warren
  2. Kyle Porter
  3. Daniel Young
  4. Kirk Johnson
  5. Toneil Carter

This felt like it would shake out as a committee back at the start of camp, and now...it feels like it will shake out as a committee.

Chris Warren has been impressive when healthy, though a minor concussion (he’s back in full pads today) was his latest health-related bump in the road. Kyle Porter’s availability ability and some tough-to-tackle moments in the open field had earned him plenty of reps with the 1’s through camp, though he’s just coming off his own injury issue with a banged-up shoulder.

Daniel Young has taken advantage of Warren and Porter’s absences to turn some heads with powerful inside running, and he’s probably capable of handling a 15+ carry load if the situation demands it.

Kirk Johnson has looked as shifty, speedy and dirty as you (vaguely, probably) remember when he’s gotten touches, and (drive to California and rap knuckles directly on a Sequoia) barring misfortune he’ll at least enter the season healthy. He’ll zoom up the de facto depth chart if he’s able to stay that way. Finally, Toneil Carter has battled some ball security issues but he’s still a decent bet for third-down snaps if Johnson is unavailable.

Seeing one guy grab the job and hump it into submission would have been nice, but it was always a faint hope with this bunch. Things feel like they did heading into camp - there’s plenty of ability and solid skill sets in this bunch, and health figures to be the biggest determining factor for touches when it’s all said and done.

X Wide Receiver

  1. Collin Johnson
  2. Lil’Jordan Humphrey
  3. Lorenzo Joe

No surprise that Johnson stands alone atop the overall wide receiver depth chart, as he’s making his early A.J. Green comps more realistic with each passing day. Lil’Jordan Humphrey has impressed with his go-up-and-get-it ability as well as some preternatural shiftiness for a 6’5” dude - it won’t be a shock to see him get some snaps in the slot this season as well as the outside. Lorenzo Joe is healthy and playing well, he’s just stuck behind some future Sunday talent. His lunchpail approach to blocking should still earn him some snaps as the season progresses.

Z Wide Receiver

  1. Jerrod Heard
  2. Dorian Leonard
  3. John Burt

Downfield blocking and route-running savvy were Jerrod Heard’s questions coming into camp, and he’s answered them with aplomb. He’s smoother than Billy Dee Williams in a Colt 45 commercial with the ball in his hands, and his downfield speed and playmaking ability combined with demonstrated leadership have won the coaches over. Dorian Leonard has shown well after a slow start to camp, and he’ll see a good share of snaps. John Burt still fights the ball some but his deep speed means we shouldn’t turn the page on him. He’ll earn more reps if he’s consistently hauling the ball in under live fire.

H Slot Receiver

  1. Devin Duvernay
  2. Reggie Hemphill-Mapps
  3. Davion Curtis
  4. Armanti Foreman

This would read 1a and 1b if I could figure out the damn formatting in this editor, as Hemphill-Mapps has been one of the surprises of camp and is likely your fourth “starter” at wideout when Texas goes four wide. Devin Duvernay’s camp has been quieter than expected as he’s still ironing out some route-running issues, but his game-changing speed should still earn him plenty of reps as he refines his game. Davion Curtis made his mark early in camp with an 80+ yard TD and may well have passed up Armanti Foreman at this point.

All in all, receiver is loaded and the good news has well outweighed the bad with this bunch in camp.

Y Tight End/H-Back

  1. Andrew Beck
  2. Kendall Moore
  3. Garrett Gray
  4. Reese Leitao
  5. Cade Brewer

There’s been a little upside surprise to this point at one of the team’s biggest question-mark positions. Andrew Beck has been healthy and effective while throwing a variety of blocks from a variety of alignments - hitting moving targets was his biggest question heading into camp, and reports have been good on that front. Kendall Moore sounds like he’s been reasonably effective as an in-line guy, and Garrett Gray may be another Yancy McKnight success story - he’s added a lot of good weight and has surprise the staff with his physicality. Reese Leitao and Cade Brewer have both flashed ability - figure Leitao to earn some snaps here and there and Brewer to (more than likely) shirt.

Short of finding a pre-injury Blaine Irby frozen in one of the team’s cryo-pods, there was never going to be a ton of wow factor at tight end for 2017. As of now, though, there’s reason for cautious optimism that the position won’t hold the offense hostage.

Left Tackle

  1. Connor Williams
  2. Denzel Okafor
  3. J.P. Urquidez
  4. Jean DeLance
  5. Sam Cosmi

Indispensability Index runner-up Connor Williams is healthy (thank God) and kicking the expected amount of ass. After that...things get skinny in a hurry. As of now it sounds like Denzel Okafor is the de facto #2 at both left and right tackle. Urquidez has been running third team, and it seems that the light just hasn’t come on for Jean DeLance at this point. Cosmi redshirts

Left Guard

  1. Patrick Vahe
  2. Alex Anderson
  3. Derek Kerstetter

Vahe has had an outstanding camp after remaking his body in the offseason and should significantly elevate his play following a largely lost 2016 campaign. Alex Anderson has looked solid in backup work, and shouldn’t cause disaster if called upon to play significant snaps.

Center

  1. Zach Shackelford
  2. Jake McMillon
  3. Alex Anderson
  4. Terrell Cuney

Off-season ankle surgery looks to have set Zach Shackelford to rights, and he’s been solid once he returned to running with the 1’s. If he goes down you’re almost certain to see Jake McMillon kick over to center, though Anderson has been repping there as well as an emergency option.

Right Guard

  1. Jake McMillon
  2. Patrick Hudson
  3. Alex Anderson
  4. Derek Kerstetter

McMillon has taken care of business as expected whether lining up at guard or center and remains the fiercest phone-booth dude on the interior OL. The game may be slowing down for Patrick Hudson, giving him the chance to see the field and start deploying his Sunday frame and athleticism sooner rather than later. Derek Warehime’s goal of finding eight starting-caliber players on the OL took a torpedo amidships when Evan Robert Elijah Rodriguez went down, but Hudson may allow the staff some flexibility if he closes camp on a strong note.

Right Tackle

  1. Tristan Nickelson
  2. Denzel Okafor
  3. Zach Shackelford
  4. J.P. Urquidez
  5. Garrett Thomas

After plenty of hubbub, we’re more or less back where we started at right tackle - Tristan Nickelson is holding down the fort on the strength of assignment soundness, and Denzel Okafor is pushing as he works to gain consistency. This still feels like an Oak takeover by the back half of the season, and still feels like the offense’s biggest potential trouble spot. Shackelford got some reps at right tackle and could end up being the de facto emergency option, particularly if Hudson’s play would allow him to plug in at guard and shift McMillon to center.

O-line still feels like a high-beta proposition as we get into the back part of camp. On the basis of pure physical ability we’ve got one of the conference’s strongest setups from left tackle over to right guard, but questions at the fifth spot and kinda-precarious depth mean that we may not breathe easy here all season.

All in all it’s been a positive camp for the offense. We’ll talk D tomorrow, and it’ll be all the more fun if you’ve got yourself a copy of the best Longhorn preview on the market.