The Texas Longhornsare promising a rejuvenated rushing attack to help ease in first-year starting quarterback Garrett Gilbert. That's no surprise. The surprise is which of the three Texas tailbacks will initially accompany Gilbert in the backfield Saturday when the No. 5 Horns open the season against the Rice Owls at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
It won't be Tre' Newton or Fozzy Whittaker, the two backs that seemed to have the edge heading into the spring. Newton finished last season as the starter and the team's leading rusher with 552 yards on 116 carries.
Make way for 5-foot-11, 250-pound junior Cody Johnson.
"They're both playing well, so Fozzy and Tre' didn't do anything differently. It's just the power that Cody brings to us," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "He can pass protect. He can catch the ball, run routes out of the backfield. But, with the power running attack that we're looking at now and the downhill runs, he's just a real load when he gets straight ahead."
Johnson has trimmed down and Brown said he lost five percent of his body fat during the offseason, adding more quickness to his obvious power. He rushed 87 times last season for 335 yards and 12 touchdowns. In two seasons, he has 673 yards on 163 carries and 24 touchdowns.
All three tailbacks are expected to see time against the Owls.