In just a few days, No. 3 Texas football and head coach Steve Sarkisian will face the No. 2 Washington Huskies and head coach Kalen DeBoer in the College Football Playoff Semifinal game at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, LA. Texas has a few more days to prepare until the Sugar Bowl against Washington on Jan. 1.
Sark and the Longhorns have already been practicing in New Orleans at the Caesars Superdome for a couple of days, though. Texas arrived in NOLA earlier this week to get a little less than one week of practice in at the site of the Sugar Bowl before the College Football Playoff Semifinals kick off on New Year's Day.
The media did get some brief windows to watch the Longhorns practice this week. Various practice reports have noted the Longhorns players getting the first and second-team reps before the Sugar Bowl next week.
Texas football CB Malik Muhammad will be a key DB in the Sugar Bowl vs. Washington
Among the more interesting developments regarding how the practice reps are being distributed on defense in Sugar Bowl practice is at cornerback. Joe Cook of Inside Texas reported on Dec. 28 (paid content) that true freshman cornerback Malik Muhammad is getting the first-team reps at the boundary spot ahead of redshirt junior corner Ryan Watts.
Watts took the second-team reps at cornerback, alongside redshirt junior corner Gavin Holmes, in practice on Dec. 28.
Meanwhile, Muhammad took the first-team practice reps at corner alongside sophomore Terrance Brooks.
Watts has been limited in practice due to an injury
One of the potential causes of this development in the distribution of practice reps at corner this week could be the injury that Watts is dealing with. Watts suffered a lower-body injury late in the season, which has limited him since the Big 12 Championship Game against Oklahoma State on Dec. 2. And it has limited him throughout bowl practice in the last month or so.
Junior wide receiver Xavier Worthy and sophomore defensive back Austin Jordan have also dealt with injuries recently. Worthy suffered a lower-body injury in the Big 12 title game on Dec. 2. He's been dealing with an ankle injury since the final month of the regular season.
But Cook noted in this practice report that Watts, Worthy, and Jordan were all participating fully in team practice drills on Dec. 28.