AUSTIN, Texas — Several Texas Longhorns players will be lining up at new positions in the 2020 season.
In Tuesday's press conference, head coach Tom Herman gave the media an update about the changes to the player's roles on the team.
Herman said sophomore Jordan Whittington would move to slot wide receiver, DeMarvion Overshown would play the "will" linebacker, Joseph Ossai and Bryon Vaughns would play a "hybrid jack" linebacker position and Anthony Cook would move to the nickel corner back position. Roschon Johnson's 2019 move from quarterback to running back would continue in 2020, Herman added.
All the personnel changes come as Texas brings in a new defensive coordinator, Chris Ash, and new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich.
Entering the Ash-era, Texas will bring in a four-man defensive front as opposed to the three-man front UT ran in 2019. Ash served alongside Herman at Ohio State as defensive coordinator for the Buckeyes in 2014.
Herman noted the return to a true four-man defensive front was to generate more of a pass rush, and was also one of the reasons why Cedar Creek five-star recruit Alfred Collins said he chose Texas.
In the "new look" defense, Herman complemented Ossai's upside in the junior's new hybrid position.
“The sky’s the limit," Herman said. "[Ossai's] aggressive, he’s twitchy, he’s long, fearless. This will be a great fit for him.”
Offensively, Texas' decision to move Whittington to slot will allow the Longhorns to get more of its playmakers onto the field. Whittington was a highly-touted player in the running back group coming out training camp for his freshman season in 2019, but was sidelined most of the year due to injury. But Texas won't forget Whittington's roots, according to Herman.
“We aren’t going to forget about (Jordan Whittington) in backfield,“ Herman said.
With Whittington's injury, Texas was left short-handed at running back and prompted one of 2019's UT season storylines: the emergence of Roschon Johnson. Johnson was moved from quarterback to running back in his freshman season to help the ailing backfield, and his production was noted by Herman.
Johnson finished the 2019 season with 665 rushing yards and tied for a team-lead in rushing touchdowns with seven.
Sam Ehlinger also returns to UT for his senior season in 2020. His choice to come back played a major role in Yurcich deciding to come to Austin, according to the coach.
“Sam’s a hell of a player and a big part of why I chose this position,” Yurcich told the media Tuesday.
Yurcich added that the percentage of run versus pass in Texas' 2020 offense, to him, is irrelevant.
“It doesn’t matter," Yurcich said. "As long as we’re efficient and we’re getting a lot of yards per play, it doesn’t matter.”
In an injury update, Herman told the media B.J. Foster would undergo shoulder surgery. The shoulder surgery will keep Foster out of spring practice, according to Herman. Spring practice for the Longhorns is scheduled to begin on March 24.
The 2020 Texas Spring Game will be played on April 25.
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