Ashton Dorsey

Football Notebook

Texas defensive tackle Ashton Dorsey is back after a one game suspension week one. Now he is up to second on the depth chart.

Photo Credit: Thomas Allison | Daily Texan Staff

Ashton Dorsey had to wait an extra week to make his 2011 debut, but when he finally got his shot, he made the most of it.

The sophomore defensive tackle returned from a one-game suspension on Saturday against Brigham Young and recorded the Longhorns’ first sack of the season to go along with two tackles for loss.

Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and defensive line coach Bo Davis have been looking for a second tackle to emerge and ease some of the burden on starter Kheeston Randall. They may have found their man in Dorsey.

“He was just hungry to get out on the field and start his first game,” Randall said. “It was definitely a big game for him. We’re only promised 12 or 13 games each year, so every game you get to play in you’ve got to do your best.”

Texas suspended Dorsey prior to the season-opener against Rice for a violation of team rules. The Owls rushed for 130 yards against the Longhorns in that game. But Dorsey’s return to the starting lineup against BYU helped shore up the Texas run defense, which allowed only 43 yards on the ground to the Cougars.

Longhorns dominating fourth quarter
Texas is saving its best for last this season.

In two games, the Longhorns offense has played average in the first half. Rice and Brigham Young combined to outscore Texas, 19-13, before halftime.

The Longhorns, though, have turned the tables in the second half. Texas has outscored its opponents by eight in the third quarter (14-6) and played some of its best ball in the fourth quarter, scoring 21 points while shutting out both Rice and BYU.

“We’ve played really well in both third quarters and dominated the fourth quarter,” said head coach Mack Brown.

In the fourth quarter, Texas has picked up 14 first downs and limited its opponent to one. The Longhorns have out-rushed the competition by 129 yards (158 to 29) and passed for 107 yards, while allowing just 29. The Longhorns’ improved running game from a season ago has paid huge dividends towards the ends of games as Texas has worn down the competition in the fourth quarter by pounding the ball on the ground.

“It’s a credit to our offseason program. The guys are in great shape,” Brown said.

Longhorns turn to freshman against UCLA
Freshman tailback Malcolm Brown has lived up to the hype so far and could make his first career start against UCLA on Saturday at the Rose Bowl. He was named the co-starter with senior Fozzy Whittaker on Monday.

“We’ll get Malcolm in the game sooner,” said head coach Mack Brown. “We’re trying to make his package grow daily and try to get him to learn a little bit more. He’s got something special about him.”

Brown led Texas in rushing yards for the second straight game against Brigham Young, carrying 14 times for a game-high 68 yards. He paced the Longhorns with 16 carries for 86 yards against Rice.

Whittaker started the Longhorns’ first two games but will give way to the freshman against the Bruins this week. The senior, though, has played well in his two starts, scoring two of the team’s six touchdowns.

Printed on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 as: Dorsey quickly emerging as team's second tackle.

Editor's note: Texas released its depth chart Monday morning and there was plenty of movement across the board. The Longhorns will take the field with six new starters, three on offense, two on defense, and one on special teams.

Up:

Marquise Goodwin
When the depth chart was released last Monday, Goodwin’s name was nowhere to be found. His intentions to remove his redshirt and return to football were not officially announced until late that evening. This week, the junior wide receiver and long jump extraordinaire finds himself atop the depth chart as both a starting receiver and kick returner.

“It was great being out there, doing the little bit that I did to help the team get the W,” Goodwin said. “It was great. I feel complete. It’s just great to be out there and back with the guys.”

Ashton Dorsey
Dorsey also did not see the field when Texas faced Rice as he was suspended due to a violation of team rules. But the sophomore defensive tackle came back with a vengeance in the Longhorns’ latest contest against BYU. Dorsey notched two tackles, both for loss, and a sack, Texas’ first of the season. The performance earned him a starting spot beside senior defensive tackle Kheeston Randall.

“Ashton played great,” Randall said. “He’s a force down there. He plays with great pad level. He brings it every single play.”

Quandre Diggs
Texas led BYU for only nine minutes and when they did it was by just one point, 17-16. But the Longhorns defense held their ground and on the Cougars’ last drive, it was Diggs that put the nail in the coffin, picking off BYU quarterback Jake Heaps for his first career interception. Now Diggs tops the depth chart at cornerback.

Down:

Garrett Gilbert
To say that Gilbert had a tough night against BYU would be a gross understatement. The junior quarterback from Lake Travis completed as many passes to Texas receivers as BYU defenders. In five possessions, Gilbert’s offense produced only one first down — on a 14-yard run by freshman Malcolm Brown — and no points.

“What Garrett will do is work really hard to get his job back and he’ll compete,” said head coach Mack Brown. “He is a great young man who’s tough and smart. He’ll do everything right to try to help this football team and obviously to help this team win.”

Calvin Howell
With Dorsey’s resurgence, Howell finds himself on the outside looking in as he is no longer listed as a starting defensive tackle. The sophomore, now Dorsey’s backup, has made only one tackle, a second-quarter stop against BYU, in two starts. Howell should still see the field occasionally with the way defensive coordinator Manny Diaz likes to rotate his defensive linemen, but Dorsey has quickly established himself as the team’s second-best defensive tackle.

John Harris
Harris took a step back in the Longhorns lineup after Goodwin’s return from the IAAF World Championships in Korea. Harris, a redshirt freshman, was listed as a starting wide receiver each of the last two weeks and made catches against both Rice and BYU, registering two receptions for 13 yards on the season. With Goodwin back, however, Harris will likely play a diminished role the rest of this season.

Printed on September 13, 2011 as: Choaches shake up depth chart

Carrington Byndom, separating himself from a BYU receiver here, has been one of many pleasant surprises in TexasÂ’ secondary this season.

Photo Credit: Fanny Trang | Daily Texan Staff

Here are 10 Texas football thoughts that have nothing to do with Garrett Gilbert:

1. I owe Jaxon Shipley an apology. Back in February, I covered the USA-World All-Star football game at Westlake High School, in which Shipley caught one ball for about eight yards. He had agreed to a postgame interview and him and I were walking back rather briskly to the field house, trying to get out of the 20-degree icebox. I asked Shipley what his immediate personal goals were for the season, expecting to hear the usual answer self-deflecting statement that you always get with those sort of individualized questions.

“I expect to start,” he said, matter-of-factly. “I think that can happen.”

I snorted rather rudely, taken aback that the high school senior expected to just stroll onto the 40 Acres and jump ahead of guys who have been in the program for a few years.

Well, not only was Shipley the only true freshman to start Week 1 against Rice, but he looks like Texas’ best receiver after just two weeks, and maybe its best player.

2. Yes, Shipley is rooming with Case McCoy. Don’t let Brent Musburger find out.

3. The young cornerbacks looked like the team’s weakness heading into this season. After two games, it might be the Longhorns’ strength. Quandre Diggs and Adrian Phillips both notched interceptions Saturday night and Carrington Byndom doesn’t even get picked on. Byndom Island, anyone?

“I’m not surprised at all by how well they’re playing,” said senior safety Blake Gideon. “We have high expectations for everybody who comes to play here.”

4. Has Texas found the second defensive tackle it’s been seeking for so long? The presence of Ashton Dorsey certainly helped Saturday night. Suspended against Rice for a violation of team rules, Dorsey busted out against BYU with two tackles for loss and the Longhorns’ only sack of the game. He was named the defensive player of the game and is listed to start next to Kheeston Randall this weekend against UCLA.

5. Okay, I lied. One last Gilbert thought:

15,220 combined yards, 126 combined touchdowns.

That’s obviously not Gilbert’s career stat line. Instead, it’s the cumulative statistics of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III in their careers at Stanford and Baylor, respectively. Both are Texas products and neither was courted seriously by the Longhorns. Luck, a member of the 2008 class, was passed on because Texas only had eyes for Gilbert and RG3 was offered as just an athlete.

Obviously, Mack Brown would have been torched if he have passed on Gilbert — the best quarterback in Texas high school history. Just a fun statistic that proves hindsight really is 20/20.

6. Color me extremely impressed with the transition Chris Whaley has made from running back to defensive tackle over the course of just one offseason. My goodness, he is big — 6-foot-3 and 279 lbs. But he’s still got the wheels that helped him to 6,000 yards in his high school career and showed them off on a nice quarterback pressure Saturday night.

7. Some insane box scores from UT commits over the weekend, especially Texas’ two five-stars:

Johnathan Gray (Aledo) — 29 carries for 261 yards and four touchdowns

Cayleb Jones (Austin High) — seven catches, 246 yards, two touchdowns

8. Let me be the first to compare Texas’ future three-headed rushing attack to Arkansas’ old Darren McFadden-Felix Jones-Peyton Hillis trio. Current freshman Malcolm Brown would be a nice McFadden, Longhorn-to-be Gray has Felix Jones’ versatility and is just as dangerous in the open field and big Joe Bergeron can be the type of smashmouth back that Hillis was.

9. The aforementioned Shipley has been named the team’s offensive MVP two weeks in a row. According to Mack Brown, the upperclassmen have no beef with the honor going to a true freshman.

“We might have had a problem with that last year,” he admitted. “But not this year. The chemistry is great.”

10. Marquise Goodwin goes from Seoul to starting in the span of a week. You can’t make this stuff up.

Printed on September 13, 2011 as: Shipley thought he would start before season began

Quincy Russell talks to reporters in the halls of Sam Houston High School on Feb. 2 for national signing day. Russell failed to qualify academically and will not be at Texas this fall.

Photo Credit: Shereen Ayub | Daily Texan Staff

Almost every year, Texas has a football recruit who fails to qualify for enrollment. Last year, it was Tevin Jackson, who was granted admission a few months ago by the NCAA Clearinghouse. In 2008, Antoine Hicks didn’t make the grade and instead attended TCU, where he is now a starting wide receiver. This time around, it’s San Antonio Sam Houston High School defensive tackle Quincy Russell.

The Army All-American hadn’t been taking classes for the first term of summer school, causing speculation that he may not be eligible for fall competition. Tuesday, Sam Houston head coach Gary Green told Orangebloods.com that Russell had in fact failed to qualify and that he would be looking to enroll at a junior college. Green also said that Texas might still be interested in Russell in a few years as a JUCO recruit.

It’s a sad turn for Russell, who was in line to be the first major college football player out of Sam Houston since Green became coach.

“I couldn’t be more proud,” Green told The Daily Texan on national signing day in February. “I told Quincy last year, ‘You’re going to be the first.’ I knew he was going to be great.”

Rivals.com ranked Russell as the No. 11 DT in the country, and the 6-foot-3, 289-pounder possessed abilities as both a run-stopper and a pass-rusher.

Of all the incoming recruits not named Malcolm Brown, Jaxon Shipley or Quandre Diggs, this might have been the one guy Texas could not have afforded to lose. In seven losses in 2010, the Longhorns were gashed for an average of 188 yards on the ground and saw eight rushers eclipse the 100-yard mark. The run defense was already looking like the team’s weak spot heading into this season, with Kheeston Randall looking like the only sure thing at defensive tackle. Russell was a heavy Texas target, and one of just two tackles signed in the 2011 class — with Desmond Jackson being the other.

With Russell failing to qualify, here’s a look at who will be needed to contribute big minutes at the defensive tackle rotation this season:

Kheeston Randall, 6-5, 295 lbs. — A shoe-in to start.

Ashton Dorsey, 6-2, 295 lbs. — The roster says he’s 6-foot-2, but he looks a few inches shorter than that. Regardless, Dorsey did receive strong reviews from the coaches during spring practices, and is the likely second starter.

Calvin Howell, 6-4, 290 lbs. — After redshirting in 2009, Howell saw limited action in 2010, with just two total tackles on the year. But the future could be bright for the former member of the Rivals’ 100 if he gets more playing time.

Greg Daniels, 6-5, 270 lbs. — Coaches hope that Daniels, a converted defensive end who redshirted last year, can make the sort of transition Lamarr Houston did when he went from outside to inside.

Desmond Jackson, 6-1, 278 lbs. — The luxury of redshirt year would have been nice for the incoming tackle, but he now might be forced into action.

Others to Keep an Eye On:

Taylor Bible, 6-3, 310 lbs. — It has been a watch-and-wait year for Bible, who came to Austin highly regarded and, to the disappointment of the coaching staff, highly out-of-shape. He was actually expected to contribute a bit last year, but wasn’t conditioned well enough to see the field, resulting in a redshirt season.

De’Aires Cotton, 6-4, 295 lbs. — Yet another redshirt, Cotton was a member of the three-tackle 2010 recruiting class, but has been a bit of a forgotten name under the shadows of Dorsey and Bible. But Texas will take all the help it can get.