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Jaxon Shipley Injury: Updates on Texas WR's Hamstring and Return

The Texas Longhorns have an array of options at quarterback, but it may not matter who's under center if the wide receiving depth takes anymore blows.    

On Monday, senior Jaxon Shipley suffered a hamstring injury that will keep him sidelined for an unknown amount of time, according to the Associated Press' Jim Vertuno:

Coach Charlie Strong didn't sound overly concerned via Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman

Shipley has enjoyed a solid career in Austin, but injuries have limited him on multiple occasions. He hurt his hamstring as a freshman, and as his brother Jordan told ESPN.com's Max Olson, he had groin surgery before his junior year:

A lot of people don't know this, but he had a pretty significant surgery right before last season started and missed all of two-a-days. They went in and cut the attachments for his groin muscle on both sides and reattached them. They were torn and frayed everywhere. I don't know how he was even back to being able to play. That was four weeks before two-a-days. 

That makes the timing of this injury even more frustrating. Not only did he seem poised for a career year as the go-to option in the passing game, but Texas also can't afford any blows to the position. 

Olson noted the frightening depth:

True freshman Armanti Foreman has impressed in practice, but this is a scary thin group in terms of experience as long as Shipley and Marcus Johnson are both sidelined. John Harris has nine career receptions, while Jacorey Warrick has zero. 

Malcolm Brown, Johnathan Gray, Joe Bergeron and Jalen Overstreet make up one of the best backfields in the country, which will be nice to lean on in the meantime.

But if Strong wants any kind of offensive balance in his first season, getting Shipley back and healthy before the opener against North Texas on Aug. 30 will be key. 

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Gary Pinkel: What It Means to Be 'Mizzou Made' in the SEC

Every season there's a selling point for a team. Usually it's a tag line indicative of something the team is trying to achieve or has just achieved. The Missouri Tigers have had a few tag lines over the years themselves that have defined an era, or a memorable slice in time. But you can forget all gimmicks and flashy noise, Mizzou has a way of life that defines them now and it's called being Mizzou Made.

To be entirely honest, I initially thought it was some sort of motto intended to sell tickets. That's until I realized that the team goes about pushing the aspects of the ideal from the time a player arrives on campus, to well after they've left the team in whatever endeavor they're in.

What does it mean then to be Mizzou Made? Let some of these items sink in for a moment.

• 8th most-winning BCS Program since 2007
• 97 percent graduation rate
• 5th most NFL 1st round draft picks since 2009

What's special about these numbers, is that no other school in the country can boast about being in the top-10 in all three of these categories, but Mizzou can.

In addition, according to head coach Gary Pinkel's website, being Mizzou Made is defined as "The Mizzou Football Family’s approach to developing student-athletes academically, athletically, and socially better than any program in the nation."

Just how do they do this? Pinkel has a road map laid out that has spelled success for him over the past several seasons, and it starts with total player development. Physical training is an essential part of the equation, and it starts and ends with their specialist Dr. Pat Ivey according to Dave Matter of the St.Louis Post-Dispatch.

Dr. Ivey heads a total player development program that works with players physically as well as mentally on various life issues. By instilling a well-rounded sense of disciple as well as how to handle tough life situations, Pinkel has found a winning approach where the fruits of his labor are obvious. Bob Knight, Tom Landry and Vince Lombardi are all people that Pinkel has listed as examples of proper discipline.

The coaches also want to teach values to its players, and there are four core values that Tiger players are focused on. They are honesty, treating women with respect, no drugs and being able to protect the family. This approach is found with regard to developing a player, rather than the overall team approach. Promoting a culture of a positive atmosphere where all players feel valued by teaching these values to the younger players, enables the whole team to be working toward these goals, even if they're not the players out on the field touching the ball all the time.

Next is making sure that all players receive a proper education, and this is where Mizzou really shines. Their Academic Progress Report ratings have been among the very top in the nation since the program's introduction. Over the past five seasons, Mizzou has graduated over 97 percent of its football players, per GaryPinkel.com. But they won't be satisfied until that number is at 100. Players are coming in and getting world-class preparation at football and in life.

The final aspect is the most important because it's what the coaches and players talk about all the time, and that's family. It's a term that may seem fairly overplayed and obvious, but at Mizzou they take it extremely seriously. Singing songs in a circle like they're at camp, telling stories about their lives, even having the option of attending a church service every Friday evening, there's a ton of things about just being on the Tiger team that makes you feel like you're having the time of your life.

The best part I actually saved for last, and that's what is essentially the team mantra boiled down into two little words, "No Excuses."

This is all something I took note of years ago when signs were hung throughout the Mizzou locker rooms. "No Excuses, An excuse is the first thing that comes out of someone's mouth that attempts to justify failure." Wow. If there was ever a quote that could sum up the proper way to deal with just about any challenge or obstacle in life, it's this.

I'm a fan. If what Mizzou was doing here wasn't the best possible thing, I think I might be the first person jumping and screaming that we ought to do things like a program who's winning. But Mizzou is that program.

Follow Dan Irwin on Twitter @irwinsports or on Facebook.

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Texas Football: Will Thin RB Depth Doom the Longhorns in 2014?

When Charlie Strong hired Tommie Robinson to coach the running backs, Robinson inherited one of the most seasoned positions for the Texas Longhorns in 2014.

But the recent dismissals of senior Joe Bergeron and sophomore Jalen Overstreet have made Robinson's job a lot more difficult.

Texas currently has two veteran running backs on its roster: senior Malcolm Brown and junior Johnathan Gray.

When the two are healthy, they combine for one of the most potent one-two punches in college football. But the health issues are not something one can overlook.

Gray missed the final portion of the 2013 season after he suffered a torn Achilles against West Virginia on Nov. 10.

After missing the entire spring, Gray was cleared to return to the team in time for fall camp.

The Texas medical staff would not have cleared him if he wasn't healthy, but how hard should he push it during fall camp? 

It's difficult to ignore the concern of if he is returning too soon. Gray said he feels as if he is 95 percent healthy, but does that mean everyone should entirely ignore that remaining five percent?

Absolutely not.

On the other hand, Brown proved to be a reliable option to take over after Gray's injury at West Virginia. He finished with more than 100 yards rushing in three of the final four games of the season.

But 2013 was the first season Brown completed without having an injury withhold him from seeing the field.

Brown's health is probably not something Texas fans should worry about week in, week out, but it's difficult not to have it in the back of your mind when one considers the thin depth at his position and how an injury to either running back could destroy the Longhorns offense.

Let's think worst-case scenario for a minute. If something unfortunate were to happen to both starting running backs, Texas would be forced to either play true freshman Donald Catalon or rely on the receivers and the passing game.

And that brings up an even bigger concern for the Longhorns.

One of the thinnest positions on the depth chart is wide receiver. Wide receiver coach Les Koenning's job became a lot more difficult with the dismissals of Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander. Add in the Orangebloods.com report (subscription required) that Jaxon Shipley suffered a hamstring injury in practice, and the receiving core is holding on by a string.

Texas did sign five wide receivers in the 2014 class, and some of those true freshmen will likely be needed this season.

But if the Texas offense is forced to be built around the receiving core, it's nearly impossible to expect a positive outcome for Strong's inaugural season in Austin.

Of course, these are all hypothetical situations. There's a good possibility that Gray and Brown will both stay healthy, which would likely lead Texas to build the offense around the dynamic duo. 

But if anything were to happen to Gray and/or Brown, the thin depth at running back could very likely doom the Texas offense.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.

Taylor Gaspar is Bleacher Report's featured columnist covering the Texas Longhorns. Follow Taylor on Twitter: @Taylor_Gaspar. 

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