Day Two Practice Report: Defense

Who stood out at Texas's second open practice on the defense? Read more INSIDE.

Top Player: Kenny Vaccaro, safety

Vaccaro didn't play much on Friday, so it was nice to see him get quite a bit of run on Saturday. He didn't disappoint, laying a few really big hits and generally looking like an All-America candidate on the back line. The impressive thing about Vaccaro, who says he's up to 217 pounds now, is how well he runs and covers. Most safeties who hit like he does are one-dimensional. But Vaccaro, as of now, is still playing the nickel cornerback spot when Texas goes to five defensive backs. That's pretty impressive.

Other Thoughts:

The Texas quarterbacks were lucky to be wearing black jerseys at times, with the defensive line largely winning the day. At one point, due to a missed assignment, Alex Okafor came off the edge pretty much untouched. That would have probably spelled the end of the day for a quarterback in a contact situation.

Reggie Wilson has also shown up big-time as a pass-rusher and has been difficult to deal with. But he's just so-so against the run, something he needs to get better at if he's going to be more than just a third-down rotational guy.

Texas is loaded at defensive tackle. Desmond Jackson is excellent at generating push, while Ashton Dorsey is flirting with All-Big 12-level talent. Add in Chris Whaley and Brandon Moore, who had another nice day, and the Longhorns are not only high on talent, but incredibly deep at the position, with more talent yet to come in a few months.

Steve Edmond is certainly a master of the 'WOW' play. Players as big as he is don't usually move like he does, and his play slate in the scrimmage included the following spectacular moments: 1) capsizing Malcolm Brown on a running play, 2) blitzing through and "sacking" (by touching) quarterback Case McCoy and 3) running down Jaxon Shipley from behind on a sideline pass. Yes, you read that right. Texas coach Mack Brown has said the Longhorn staff is in love with Edmond's potential, and it's easy to see why, when he flashes like that.

Jordan Hicks might as well be entrenched at one outside linebacker spot, but at the other is a battle between Tevin Jackson and Kendall Thompson (and potentially Demarco Cobbs if he comes back healthy). For now, Jackson and Thompson are waging quite a battle, with Jackson appearing to be the more explosive player/athlete and Thompson looking to be more sound technically

When listing the best player, it's tough to remember Carrington Byndom, which is why he's so darned good. You don't see a lot of catches on the smooth cover cornerback, who goes about his job quietly. Diggs is more of a flashy guy. He might not be the pure cover guy Byndom is, at least not yet, but Diggs might be the more likely to make a single game-changing play. Both will be tough to deal with.

Mykkele Thompson is a smooth athlete at the back. He has a nice pedal and can cover a lot of ground. And the coaches are just as excited about his mental aptitude. Thompson is reportedly a quick learner, and has taken well to his safety spot.

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