On Wednesday, Tom Herman announced on Austin radio station 104.9 the Horn that Longhorns backup lineman Mikey Grandy would no longer be able to continue his football career, due to health concerns:
Tom Herman just told @KevinDunn01 and @chastings1049 on @TheHornATX that JUCO OL transfer Mikey Grandy (concussion) has been medically disqualified and is done with football. He will remain at #Texas and pursue a degree. Hurts #Longhorns O-line depth. #HookEm
— Jeff Howe (@JeffHowe247) July 18, 2018
Grandy had a history of concussions, and with growing awareness about the complications of brain injuries in football, it’s no surprise he decided to walk away from the game. The exit of the junior college lineman does raise questions, however, about the state of the Texas offense headed into 2018.
Mikey Grandy was not projected to be a starter for the Longhorns, but he was expected to add depth to a unit that was plagued by injuries last season. Head coach Tom Herman commented on Tuesday at Big 12 Media Days that last year Texas was a “mash unit of inexperience and injuries,” an issue that he thought hurt the running game last season.
Indeed, the Longhorns ranked seventh in the Big 12 in rushing offense in 2017, managing only 3.6 yards per carry. What’s more, the leading rusher for the Longhorns last season was their quarterback, Sam Ehlinger, who amassed a mere 385 yards on the ground. That is the lowest total for a leading rusher at Texas since 1947.
With over 100 career starts coming back this season, Texas actually has one of the most experienced offensive lines in the country. Their returning rushers, Danny Young and Toneil Carter, logged significant carries last season, and the Longhorns landed Cal transfer Tre Watson in the offseason. The signing of Keontay Ingram, one of the best running back recruits in the nation, is also expected to bolster their rushing efforts.
Yet the 2018 is season starting out eerily like last season, when Texas had multiple lineman go down with injuries, and it serves as a reminder the running game is still a question for the Longhorns. In a year where the Big 12 looks to be defined by a slew of great running backs, will the Longhorns find some answers at that position?
Having a 1,000 yard rusher – which Texas has had only once since 2007 – seems a bit much to ask at this point. If any of the backs currently on the roster can even approach that number, however, that would seem like a mark of progress for this Texas offense. Either way, we won’t have to long to wait to see how the offense will look for the Longhorns in 2018.