AUSTIN, Texas -- The wins are piling up for No. 5 Texas and so are
"He's the heart and soul of the defensive line. He didn't get a lot of
credit, but he was the anchor."
-- Defensive end Tim Crowder on Derek Lokey
The latest is a broken left leg on starting defensive tackle and
short yardage fullback Derek Lokey, who is scheduled to have
surgery this week and is out indefinitely.
Lokey was injured in the second quarter of Texas' 22-20 win
Saturday over No. 20 Nebraska. He will be the sixth defensive
starter this season to miss at least one game for the Longhorns.
And of all the twisted ankles, torn tendons and bruised knees
that have sent starters to the sidelines, Lokey's broken leg hits
The Longhorns (7-1, 4-0 Big 12) need a deep rotation on the
defensive line when they play pass-happy Big 12 rival Texas Tech
(5-3, 2-2) on the road Saturday night.
"He's the heart and soul of the defensive line," senior
defensive end Tim Crowder said Monday. "He didn't get a lot of
credit, but he was the anchor."
Texas avoided injury problems last season in winning the
national championship. Defensive end Brian Robison was the only
defensive starter to miss a game and he only missed one.
Texas has now lost two starters -- Lokey and offensive tackle
Cedric Dockery -- for what is likely the rest of the season.
"It seems like every week someone is getting hurt," Crowder
No position has been more banged up than the secondary, which
has been a gimpy patchwork all season.
Twin brothers and safeties Michael and Marcus Griffin have
struggled with leg injuries and starting cornerback Tarell Brown
has had a sore foot.
About the only healthy defensive back is cornerback Aaron Ross,
the Longhorns' best playmaker on defense. But even he showed up to
meet reporters Monday with his right hand bruised and wrapped.
The result is Texas ranking 84th in the pass defense this
"I've never seen so many secondary guys get hurt," said coach Mack Brown, who is in his ninth season at Texas and 23rd as a head
And now Lokey goes down. A rock in the middle of the line, he
was a key reason Texas ranks second in the nation against the run,
giving up just 46.5 yards per game.
"Derek was road grading people," Brown said.
Fans may be sympathetic about injuries but that usually
disappears with a loss, Brown said.
He remembers when his favored Longhorns went to Lubbock in 2002
and by early in the game were missing four defensive starters. The
Red Raiders threw the ball all over the field in a 42-38 victory.
"We didn't play nickel or dime defense. I looked in the press
guide this morning [and] it's still a loss," Brown said. "Nobody
cares. It's a fact.
"I used to talk about injuries all the time. It does nothing
good for your team," he said. "This team and this coaching staff
have done one of the best jobs I've ever seen to hang in there with
this many injuries and still be positive."
With Lokey out this week, Texas could do some shuffling along
the defensive line.
Ends Crowder and Robison could be moved to tackle, giving Texas
excellent athleticism inside. But that also takes the best pass
rushers off the edges.
Texas has minimized injury problems so far. The Longhorns' only
loss this season has been to No. 1 Ohio State. The Longhorns are
still in the hunt for the national championship.
And at least one injury worked out pretty well.
When punter/kicker Greg Johnson's leg got tender in the cold
weather of Nebraska after missing two field goals and an extra
point, Brown called on walk-on Ryan Bailey to kick the game-winner.
Bailey had never set foot in a game and calmly booted a
22-yarder for the win.