Senior D.J. Monroe is one of the best athletes on the Texas Longhorns football team, that much is difficult to argue with. But while Monroe has earned All-American honors as a member of the Texas track and field team, he has underwhelmed on the Longhorns football team.
Many Longhorns fans felt it was due to the coaching staff's use of the running back, or lack thereof, starting a Free D.J. Monroe movement. However, the movement grew weary as a seeming apathy from Monroe coupled with an inability to translate his skills to a football setting slowed the calls for more play time from fans.
Now in his final season with the Longhorns, though, Monroe may finally see the field in a role that fans have long wanted to see. On Tuesday, coaches and players alike chimed in on the improved play of Monroe, including co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin:
"He is a guy that is an explosive player for us. We look at those and think how we get the ball in their hands. I thought the one thing that D.J. really showed in that game was down here in the end zone when we handed the ball off to him in the wild formation and he turned the corner, ducked his shoulder and he just got skinny in a hurry and physical and got in. There was a collision there, and he kept his feet and fell into the end zone. That was really something that we wanted to see. He did it through spring and fall camp, and it showed up in the game. He was being very physical in those situations, and I think that has to continue."
Plays like that are ones that were absent from Monroe's game in past seasons. Monroe will have another opportunity to make an impact on Saturday when No. 17 Texas takes on New Mexico at 7 p.m. CT at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.