Jalen Catalon, S
The other week-to-week injury the Longhorns are dealing with in Week 10 is the leg ailment senior safety Jalen Catalon suffered in the loss to the No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners in the Red River Rivalry game in Dallas on Oct. 7. Catalon hasn’t played a defensive snap for the Longhorns since he suffered the leg injury in the second half of Red River against Oklahoma.
The initial prognosis on Catalon’s injury following Red River pegged his status as “day-to-day”. But Catalon has suffered an apparent setback in his recovery timeline from the leg injury as he hasn’t been available for the Longhorns in live-game action in over three weeks.
Catalon’s absence in the last two and a half games roughly tested the Longhorns’ safety depth. Houston exploited Texas’ safeties for over 120 passing yards and three touchdowns in the Longhorns’ narrow seven-point win on the road in Week 8.
As a solution to the safety depth issue, the Longhorns have turned to true freshman safety Derek Williams Jr. in the last couple of games. Williams took the most defensive snaps of any Texas safety in each of the last two games. He took most of his defensive snaps at field safety to help Texas alleviate some of the issues in pass coverage in the defensive backfield.
Outside of a tough mistake on a pass interference penalty he was called for on a deep ball against BYU last weekend, Williams has performed well in coverage for the Longhorns. He did allow more receptions and receiving yards against BYU than he did against Houston, but he is the only Texas safety getting regular defensive snaps that hasn’t allowed a receiving touchdown in the last two games.
The hope for Texas at safety is that they can get Catalon back for the Kansas State game for the first time since the second half against Oklahoma.