Texas Practice Notes

From a position change for a former star recruit to a general reviews, LonghornDigest.com brings a review of the first day of fully padded practice.

1) It's tough to tell after only watching individual position drills, but it appears that the Longhorn coaches made a nice move by moving wide receiver turned safety Demarco Cobbs to linebacker. Not only does he help address a bit of a depth issue there, Cobbs has excellent size and length, and can really run for the position.

2) Speaking of linebackers, I expect Jordan Hicks to put together a great season. The sophomore looks so smooth and fluid out on the field, while he's obviously added some weight and strength. With Keenan Robinson and Emmanuel Acho returning, he won't have to be great right off the bat, but don't be surprised if he emerges as an excellent playmaker.

3) The same goes for Adrian Phillips, wherever he winds up. Phillips is a great athlete who excels at finding, and making plays on, the ball. Right now, he and Bryant Jackson are working at both cornerback and safety. Wherever Phillips plays, expect him to be a success.

4) Texas's defensive end depth was aided significantly by moving Alex Okafor and Dravannti Johnson from defensive tackle and linebacker, respectively. Johnson has a lot of natural pass rushing instincts, while Okafor looks like the ideal strong side defensive end. He'll probably play both inside and out, like Sam Acho did the past few years.

5) If one player is taking advantage of Malcolm Williams's absence, it's redshirt freshman wide receiver John Harris. The Naaman Forest product looks like a smooth playmaker who uses his size and length to effortlessly pluck the ball out of the air. He should be in the mix this season.

6) With Fozzy Whittaker, the questions focus more on his health than his ability. Still, it's never a bad sign to see the senior zipping around the practice field. Both Whittaker and Cody Johnson have looked like complete backs, catching the ball well out of the backfield.

7) Will Chris Whaley ever find his best position? The sophomore appears to be taking care of business in the weight room, where he's obviously shed some of his bad weight. But on the field, it's a question of where he'll fit best. He's working with the running backs, and has received positive reviews as an H-back, an important spot in the new Texas offense. But with Whaley's size, length and athleticism, I can't help but wonder if he wouldn't be best off at defensive end.

8) Right now, the quarterback pecking order goes Garrett Gilbert, Case McCoy, Connor Wood and David Ash. That's not to say that's where they'll end up, and all five are getting reps with the first-team offense. But offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin wanted to establish a pecking order to start off with, and that's how the coaches established it.

9) The Longhorns are still looking for a defensive tackle to play next to Kheeston Randall, with several potential candidates. Ideally, the player would be a nose tackle type, allowing the staff to move Randall to his more natural spot as a three technique. At either spot, Randall is a disruptive presence, though as a three, he's a likely All-American.

10) Texas is practicing with just eight scholarship offensive linemen, thanks to multiple injuries. Texas has been particularly hit at offensive tackle, with two guards practicing at the position. Paden Kelley returns from a year ago, when he showed fantastic talent at times. Trey Hopkins, who has played both positions, but is a more natural guard, is the other starter for now. Senior Tray Allen, who is returning from a foot injury, is practicing mostly at guard, but receives some repetitions at tackle.

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