We hate season players get hurt. Especially before the season starts. However, we know it’s going to happen. The Longhorns, the Jayhawks, the Cowboys and the Sooners have already been hit by the injury bug.
For the Texas Longhorns, depth at linebacker appears to be getting thinner by the week.
Back in July, redshirt sophomore Demarco Boyd was suspended from team activities after being charged with misdemeanor assault. The alleged assault followed a car crash Boyd was involved in on July 4th. Boyd had been expected to compete for playing time this fall.
More immediately devastating for Texas though, is the loss of junior Jeffrey McCulloch. He will be out for a few weeks because of a strained pectoral muscle, according to Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman.
Texas LB Jeffrey McCulloch has a strained pectoral muscle and will be out a few weeks. Also, RB Tristan Houston has a bruised rib.
— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) August 8, 2018
McCulloch had a shot at earning a starting spot for defensive coordinator Todd Orlando, and considering that linebacker was probably the biggest weak spot for the Texas defense, this is a real blow. Of the six linebackers that Texas put on the depth chart for last year’s bowl game, only two are currently practicing with the team.
Issues arising from the increased intensity of practices have appeared in other ways as well.
In Lawrence, Kansas offensive lineman Jacobi Lott had to leave practice in an ambulance after having endured a traumatic injury that was classified as a “code red” by paramedics who arrived at the scene on Wednesday.
Lott was stabilized and taken to a hospital, where he continues to recover. As of yet, there is no timetable for when he might return to practice.
In Stillwater, we projected the Pokes to have some of the better special teams this season, but that unit took a hit for them on Tuesday. It was reported that Oklahoma State punter Zach Sinor would be out indefinitely after undergoing hernia surgery this week. According to Pistols Firing, Sinor is expected to return to full health sometime in the middle of the season.
Sinor was an underrated weapon for the Pokes in 2016. Over 60 percent of his punts were downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line and averaged less than a yard per return. That performance led to an amazing Sinor for Heisman campaign before the 2017 season. However, multiple gaffs led to a disappointing year last year, and Sinor was looking to atone for that this season.
Mike Gundy wasn’t the only head coach in the state of Oklahoma to have deal with injuries, either.
In Norman, the Sooners’ secondary lost some depth this week when cornerback Starrland Baldwin re-tore the ACL he tore this spring. You have to feel for the freshman. He came to the Sooners as an early enrollee, and nothing has gone according to plan. Lincoln Riley confirmed on Tuesday that Baldwin would be out for the season.
We’re pretty excited about the Sooners’ secondary, but defensive coordinator Mike Stoops will certainly miss having an extra body in the defensive backfield.