Texas Football: Five Questions for Spring (Defense and Special Teams)

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Feb 20, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Texas defensive lineman Malcom Brown speaks to the media at the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

1. Who will replace Malcom Brown?

If we’re being honest, All-American defensive tackle Malcom Brown is the type of player that comes along only once in awhile, and while you can never truly replace a player of his caliber, you have to hope that you can at least get someone to step in without there being too much of a drop off. With Cedric Reed gone as well, that may not be easy for Brick Haley.

The returning DT with the most experience is Desmond “The Tank” Jackson. Jackson’s season was cut short last year, however, after he suffered an early injury that required surgery. Fortunately, he was able to get a medical redshirt and will return next season.

The question is, since he’s out this spring, will he be 100% in enough time to make a difference? If so, can he kick it up a notch?

Hasaan Ridgeway was Brown’s primary backup last season, followed by true freshman Poona Ford. Many expect that Ridgeway will see even more playing time this season, and Ford has tons of talent and should see the field more as well.

The DL will have some additional help from JUCO transfer DE Quincy Vasser, who is already on campus and eligible to participate in spring, though he will he be limited with a shoulder injury.

One can imagine that there will be a lot of shifting along the line, but other defensive linemen with experience are Shiro Davis,  who will likely take Ced Reed’s spot, as well as Naashon Hughes, Caleb Bluiett, and Paul Boyette, Jr.

Making things worse is the fact that DEs Bluiett and Derick Roberson, and DT Chris Nelson will also miss the spring season with injuries.

Again, while Malcom Brown will be nearly impossible to replace, the DL is loaded with talent. It could simply be a matter of finding the right combination, but there is no doubt someone will need to take over for Brown.

Next: Is Malik Jefferson the real deal?