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Texas' Roschon Johnson growing in running back role after converting from quarterback

After breakout performances against West Virginia and Oklahoma, questions have arisen about if Roschon Johnson should start over Keaontay Ingram at running back.

AUSTIN, Texas — Among all the negative aspects of Texas' offensive performance in the Red River Showdown, one beam of positivity was a breakout run from freshman Roschon Johnson. 

"(Johnson) plays fearless," Texas head coach Tom Herman said in Monday's press conference. "He plays tough. He plays aggressive. He's got to clean some things up from a protection standpoint, but we really like the progress he's made in the two months of playing that position."

Johnson began the season as the third-string quarterback, but was thrust into a backup running back role due to injuries at the position. Johnson put a band-aid to the Longhorns' offensive bleeding against Oklahoma, per se, when he broke off a 57-yard run which ultimately led to Texas' first touchdown of the game. 

The touchdown a few plays later was scored by him, too. 

Following his performance in the Red River Showdown – where Johnson tallied 95 yards on eight carries – Herman was asked by the media if he would be thrust into the starting running back slot. 

"I don't know," Herman said. "I'll know after this week or practice."

Johnson may have just broke out on the national stage, but he's been producing valiantly in his role for the past few weeks. His big run against Oklahoma comes on the heels of what was truly his breakout game of the season: a 121-yard performance on 21 rushes against West Virginia. 

Johnson was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week after the win against the Mountaineers. 


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Even in the two weeks prior to the Morgantown game, Johnson scored touchdowns against Oklahoma State and Rice. Johnson, to this point, has primarily served as the change of pace back to complement sophomore running back Keaontay Ingram. 

However, in the past two games, Johnson has 34 touches compared to Ingram's 16.

After giving his initial response about Johnson being potentially named the starter, Herman was asked a follow-up question about whether or not his indecision in the moment had to do with not wanting to "promote" Johnson over Ingram. 

The question stemmed from the fact that Johnson has performed well recently, whereas Ingram has rushed for less than 20 yards in back-to-back weeks.

"So has Keaontay," Herman replied. "Keaontay rushed for 120 something yards against Oklahoma State, too. So, we're not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater."



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