Head coach Charlie Strong dismissed CB/S Leroy Scott and FB Chet Moss from the team for unspecified rule violations. Scott was a part time player in 2o13. Moss was a frequent contributor on special teams.
Scott is the bigger loss from a team perspective, because he was one of the names that would have been in the mix to start at safety. With a new coaching staff coming in, it is hard to name a “next man up” at any position, but Scott was the closest thing to a third safety that Strong and defensive coordinator Vance Bedford would have inherited. He split snaps between corner and safety last year, accruing 17 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and a pass defended.
The immediate beneficiary of the roster opening is S Josh Turner, who is now the favorite to start alongside Mykkele Thompson at safety in 2014. Turner had 36 tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss in 2013. In 2012, he defensed three passes and recorded a sack.
Sophomore CB Bryson Echols could be the player who steps into the role abandoned by Scott. Echols had 11 tackles from the corner position last year, and might be asked to take additional snaps at safety.
Chet Moss was credited with only three special teams tackles in 2013. Special teams tackles are tough to trust as far as recorded, “official” statistics go. Both Moss and Scott were recorded with more contribution in 2013 than in any other year, although both played for the Longhorns on a limited basis in 2011 and 2012. Based on their offensive scheme in 2014, Texas could go without a backup fullback. Moss was not expected to see an increased role as a senior in 2014.
On some level, this story is pretty unique because “dismissed for an unspecified violation of team rules” is an atypical charge for a pair of seniors, and is much more common for the younger players in a college program. I am not going to speculate on the reasoning behind the dismissals. They make a small, not quite significant dent in the depth of the program heading into next year. Beyond that, Strong is going to make it a point to populate the roster with the kind of players he has recruited at Louisville, and at Florida before that. It is not clear whether the rules violated are specific to Strong’s team, or were a violation of common sense team rules.
Either way, my hope is that the violations were not serious, lessons were learned, and that the players can catch on elsewhere if they choose.