Just when it looked like things couldn’t get worse for the Texas Longhorns at wide receiver, the news broke that Jaxon Shipley sustained a hamstring injury in practice yesterday. Losing your leading returning receiver for a while is bad enough, but for Texas football, it’s just the latest in a series of blows to their corps of pass catchers.
It wasn’t long ago that the only question was how the Longhorns would replace Mike Davis, who is now with the Oakland Raiders. But they had a solid veteran returning in Shipley and a number of talented young receivers behind him.
Then Montrel Meander and Kendall Sanders were dismissed from the team. Then Daje Johnson picked up a suspension. Then there is Marcus Johnson, who will be able to keep Shipley company on the sidelines as he recovers from surgery.
The good news for Shipley and the Longhorns is that the injury should only keep him out of action for a few weeks. But the key word there is should. Hamstring injuries tend to linger and it could slow Shipley for much longer, even if he is able to play.
The other bit of bad news here is that the Longhorns don’t exactly have the easiest start to the season. Many Texas fans will look past the opener against the North Texas Mean Green, but they shouldn’t. North Texas is a program on the rise, and they could give the Longhorns some trouble if they don’t take the Mean Green seriously. North Texas finished 9-4 last season, including a dominating win over the UNLV Rebels in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Considering the trouble the Longhorns find themselves in right now, it probably wouldn’t be the biggest surprise of Week 1 if the Mean Green left Austin with a win.
From there it doesn’t get any easier for Texas, either. Their next two games are against the BYU Cougars and the UCLA Bruins before they head into Big 12 play. If the Longhorns struggle to pass the ball, they may have a difficult time emerging from that opening stretch with anything better than a 1-2 record.