Websider Daily Practice Report - 8/23/2011

The Texas Aggie football team finished up the last two-a-day session of fall camp on Tuesday and are coming down the homestretch with only three workouts remaining until game week. Aggie Websider's David Sandhop discusses the details of yesterday's session including the two-way performance of freshman Howard Matthews.

The team finished up its final two-a-day session on Tuesday as the fall camp is quickly winding down. In fact, the final scrimmage will be held Wednesday afternoon before a pair of morning workouts on Thursday and Friday closes out the fall.

Injuries continue to mount. Here's a list of players that were limited in the morning:

Jeff Fuller
Ryan Swope
Kenric McNeal
Ben Bass
Stephen Barrera
Shayvion Hatten
Spencer Nealy
Brandon Alexander
Tyrell Taylor
Lionel Smith
Caleb Russell

Brandon Alexander missed most of the morning practice due to a new student conference obligation and was not hurt. Tyrell Taylor hurt his shoulder midway through the morning session but he stayed outdoors with an ice pack so it doesn't appear to be serious. Most of the injuries are day-to-day. The most serious injury is to Stephen Barrera who has now missed about a week and a half. Having missed the spring, the loss of practice time has been brutal to his development at nose tackle.

The veteran running back duo of Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael continue to be a highlight of the past week. Gray saw his most extended live action and drew praise from Coach Jordan on several running plays where he made some efficient, nifty runs between the tackles. Michael again made some head-turning runs, including one where he made veteran linebacker Sean Porter whiff and took off outside of defensive containment for a substantial gain.

The No. 3 running back competition is still up in the air. Mister Jones and Ben Malena haven't separated themselves and both have put the ball on the ground way too much for Coach Sherman's liking. Howard Matthews took a couple of rushing attempts, and impressively bounced a run outside and down the sideline for about 30 yards.

Matthews stayed on the field for the next play on the defensive side of the ball and nailed Malena in the backfield for a three yard loss. Now that's a unique stat line for the true freshman on two consecutive plays. But with the veteran backups unable to impress the coaches, it will be interesting to see how much they play the No. 2 safety at No. 3 running back.

The punting situation continues to look bleak. The staff is still holding out hope that highly regarded freshman Drew Kaser will impress once he gets back to 100%, but for now he's looking very average and the job is still in the hands of either Ken Wood or Ryan Epperson. In the morning during live punting drills, none of the punters could get off an impressive punt over 45 yards.

The quarterbacks are still working hard to find open receivers downfield. The receivers are having a hard time gaining separation, and many plays end up being dump-offs to the running backs and tight ends, or thrown away out of bounds.

W|ith so many injuries at the outside linebacker spot on Tuesday, freshman Justin Bass (younger brother of Ben Bass) saw extended time running with the second team. He's got a nice, long frame and he could be somebody that gets into the mix over the next couple of years.

Randy Bullock returned to practice after sitting out a couple of days, and he had a great day in field goals hitting 5 of 6 between 30 and 43 yards. He's quietly been one of the pleasant surprises of fall camp getting a lot of height and length on his kicks and he has legitimate 50+ yard range.

In one-on-one OL/DL drills, Jake Matthews had one of his best days having two very good sets against Sean Porter who has become a strong outside rusher in these drills. On defense, Jonathan Mathis was very active on Tuesday and beat his man all three sets. Coach Williams has been riding Mathis recently for inconsistent effort, but he put on a show today and drew praise from his critical coach. When Tony Jerod-Eddie is participating in practice, he has been dominating in both OL/DL drills and in 11-on-11 sessions. If he stays healthy, expect a big season from the Desoto senior looking to follow in the footsteps of fellow Desoto product Von Miller.

Shep Klinke continues to work with the first unit at right guard, but he's struggled at times with allowing defensive linemen to get under his pads. He struggled with Jerod-Eddie both in the OL/DL drill and in 11-on-11 live sessions. Evan Eike has had his ups and downs this fall, but he had a very productive session on Tuesday. Klinke appears to have held on to the starting job for now, but this is one position on the OL that is a bit shaky. The other four spots are nailed down and rock solid, but if there is any movement it will come at right guard.

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