Thomas, Williams Turn On Jets In Spring Game

TE <B>David Thomas </B>and SE <B>Roy Williams </B>combined for 183 yards on just three gabs apiece in leading the Orange to a 35-14 win in the annual Spring Game Saturday, prompting QB <B>Chance Mock </B>(8-of-9 for 200 yards, 2 TDs) to suggest the explosive results from a mid-range passing game is much like a game of golf.<B> </B>Let&#146;s hope these numbers are at least par for the course when the season kicks off August 30.

"Football is a lot like golf in that you make your millions in the short game," Mock said. "Of course, I wanted to throw down field a little bit but you really don’t have to when a six-yard hitch to Roy turns into a 32-yard touchdown."

Not to mention Thomas’ 60-yard scoring sprint off of a throw-back screen pass. The speedy freshman cut back across the field and juked the jocks off second-team D-backs as if he were, well, Roy Williams.

"I just wanted to come out and play my best and perform like I know I can," Thomas said. "They gave me a chance to catch the ball and I was able to block pretty well. It (TD catch) was set up pretty well and the linemen had really good blocks," Thomas said, "and (SE) Sloan Thomas had a really good block downfield to seal it off."

Thomas led all receivers with 113 yards while Williams made 70 yards look effortless in limited action. Although the Heisman candidate is without peer at wide receiver, Thomas’ numbers impressed even the Legend.

"David Thomas is a heckuva player," Williams said. "Bo Scaife is our number one tight end, but he better watch out. David Thomas is on the loose."

Head coach Mack Brown, who has taken the attitude this spring that all positions are wide open, sized up the TE spot a bit differently than Williams.

"There’s no question that right now David Thomas will be the starting tight end when we start the fall," Brown said. "We’ve got experience with Brock (Edwards) and we’ve got experience with Bo. We’re going to play in two-tight end situations because we’re better at tight end and then we signed some good ones."

The Spring Game, putting the final touches on spring drills, is intended to give youngsters quality snaps in front of a relatively large audience and as a tool for depth chart projections. The biggest ovation came when QB Vince Young (2-3-0-32-1) took the field but it was Mock who took the Orange (first team offense) on five consecutive scoring drives against the No. 2 defense.

Mock opened the Spring fling with a 27-yard completion to Williams in the left flat, and then connected with the SE in the same spot for seven more yards. With sophomore Will Allen (6-6, 297) at center, RB Cedric Benson tallied 15-yards on four straight carries, before Mock found Williams over the middle for 11.

Benson carried it in from the 8, but it was the way he registered the first score of the afternoon that brought the Burnt Orange faithful to their feet. In breaking four tackles, Benson displayed the newfound kind of bone-jarring drive that has been evident all spring. Benson took personally last season’s anemic ground game that ranked just 74th nationally and is now standing defenders upright who get in his path. Dusty Mangum added the PAT following the 8 play, 68 yard drive.

Young’s first offensive series never got untracked, starting 1st-and-15 from the 10 before WLB Derrick Johnson sacked Young for a 7-yard loss.

Coaches are looking to finalize depth at linebacker and defensive end. RS-freshman Chase Pittman, who opened his second defensive series by throwing Mock for a 5-yard loss, has all but nailed down a spot behind DE Kalen Thornton.

But borrowing a page from the new playbook designed to exploit the speed Texas now has behind center, Mock’s quarterback draw netted 10 yards, setting up a 3rd-and-5 from the 32. From there, Williams showed why nobody has hitch plays like Texas has hitch plays. A simple toss in the right flat, a juke or three, plus at least five tacklers still looking for their jockstraps on the stadium grass, Williams stepped into the left end zone to complete a 32-yard scoring reception. David Pino added the PAT.

Last year’s C Jason Glynn (6-2, 275), who alternated with Will Allen at center, took the field on the offense's third series, when consecutive false start penalties had Mock and company staring at 2-and-19 from the 40. It only set up what should be a precursor of things to come. Gone is the drop-back passing attack from strong-armed QBs with average speed. Instead, Mock rolled left, tossed it to Thomas in the right flat who showcased his speed and cutback-ability in taking it to the house for a 60-yard score.

RB Selvin Young fielded a Pino kick at the 15 and returned it 29-yards. But after QB Matt Nordgren's (2-8-1-9-0) opening series began with an 8-yard completion to RS-freshman FB Albert Hardy in the right flat, the drive stalled with Thornton’s 3-yard QB sack on 2nd-and-2.

DB Karim Meijer blocked Taylor Landin’s punt attempting, spotting Mock a first-down at midfield. Impressive throughout the spring, Landin turned in a very Brian Bradford-like afternoon, averaging 35 yards on three punts.

Young gained 17 on a pitch right, followed by a 7-yard burst over left guard. After Mock found Thomas for nine more over the middle, Young dashed up the heart of defense for a 17-yard scoring sprint. The sophomore would lead all ball carriers with 84 yards and three TDs on 13 totes.

But Mock wasn’t done. On his last series, his play-action pass to Thomas on right sideline was good for 44 yards, setting up Young’s 11-yard gain up the middle from the 15. From there, Young followed FB Will Matthews off right tackle into the end zone. Mock trotted to the sideline, having engineered five scoring drives on five possessions.

"I think right now we’re better offensively than we’ve been in a while," Brown said. "We played One’s against One’s all spring. If we’d been against the One defense with the One offense, we wouldn’t have moved the ball as well. But, it was also our second (team) defense and those are some good players out there. So it wasn’t just some gimmees."

After Nordgren’s drive stalled, CB/PR Nathan Vasher gathered Landin’s 57-yard punt at the 6-yard line and returned it to midfield. By now, the first team defense had pitched a shutout while backup MLB Aurmon Satchell would lead all tacklers with 7.

That’s when Vince Young got untracked (albeit against a mix-and-match defense). On 2nd-and-2 from the 42, Young faked the handoff before sprinting left for 17 yards. With a first down at the 25, Young completed a 16-yard play-action pass to SE Robert Timmons. A Selvin Young pitch left, followed by a sweep left, netted 15 yards.

With 1st-and-goal from the one, the defense stiffened, stuffing Selvin for no gain up the middle and then throwing him for a 1-yard loss. But on a 4th-and-goal, Matthews once again paved the way for Selvin who carried it across from a two-yard score and his third rushing TD of the day. PK Richmond McGee added the PAT.

"Coming into today, Vince had never been in this stadium in a ballgame," Brown commented, "and Matt Nordgren really hadn’t played in this ballgame before. And Chance has played in this one some, but not very much. He’s been in games where it was over, but not where it was very competitive. We wanted to see how he would respond today. The look on his face, and the excitement and the confidence, is something that will really make us feel good in the off-season."

With the game clock winding down, SS Phillip Geiggar intercepted a Nordgren pass and returned it 15 yards to the 26. On 3rd-and-5, Young found FL Tony Jeffery alone in the end zone for a 21-yard scoring toss.

Horns Digest Top Stories