Texas Re-Starts Spring Football

Texas re-started spring football on Tuesday, with the Longhorns set to practice again on Thursday and Saturday. Here are 10 points from Texas coach Mack Brown's press conference.

1) Positive injury update: if you read Tuesday's story, you aren't exactly surprised by this, but both Demarco Cobbs and John Harris were expected to practice for the first time this spring on Tuesday. Harris will fight for a spot on the two-deep, but Cobbs is especially intriguing in that he has an excellent chance to win the starting outside linebacker job over Tevin Jackson. And while it isn't injury-related, Sheroid Evans will also begin practice, after missing time with track.


2) Speaking of linebacker, Texas coach Mack Brown said the staff was really excited about Jordan Hicks and Steve Edmond. Brown said Hicks was having an outstanding spring, and added that Edmond had massive potential in the middle. He also said that Texas was looking for other linebackers to step up, especially in terms of providing depth.


3) That depth won't be helped by the shifting of Alex De La Torre to fullback for the second part of the spring. Brown said it wasn't a permanent move, but said that linebacker was deeper in terms of talent than fullback. The latter position only has one scholarship player — Ryan Roberson — as a full-time player there, with Chet Moss missing the spring. Barrett Matthews is also working at the position some. Brown said the spring allowed Texas to take a look at certain people in different positions.


4) And that includes at defensive back. Brown said that, much like Stacy Searels shifting offensive linemen around, defensive backs coach Duane Akina liked to move defensive backs between cornerback and safety to see their best fit. Brown said Evans would likely work at cornerback to try his skills there, and added that Josh Turner pleased the coaches with his work at safety, including at a recent practice when Turner laid low a Longhorn running back, showing the requisite physicality. Carrington Byndom, Quandre Diggs and Orlando Thomas are all cornerback-only players at this point, and Mykkele Thompson is working exclusively at safety. But other than that, Brown said just about every player either had seen time at both positions or was planning to.


5) On the offensive line, Texas is still looking for a center. Brown cited the fact that injuries have prevented Dominic Espinosa from going through a full weights session for the past few years, and said he needed to get stronger. The Longhorns have also tried Garrett Porter and Mason Walters at the position, with the latter option extremely intriguing. When Porter moves to center, talented guard Sedrick Flowers moves up to replace Walters at guard. An interior group of Flowers, Hopkins and Walters could potentially be stellar. There's a lot of ability there.


6) Joe Bergeron is huge, but has changed his body. Brown said that Bergeron weighed in at 241 pounds, but looked just as quick as he did before. Brown said that some of Bergeron's high school teammates attended a spring practice and remarked on how much weight Bergeron had lost, but he actually has gained weight, instead hacking down on body fat.


7) D.J. Monroe has improved his pass-catching ability. Brown said Monroe would work out more with the wide receivers, a natural move since so many of Monroe's carries come from the wide receiver position via the jet sweep. Brown said it was important for Monroe to become a viable receiver so that Texas wasn't tipping its hand every time he came into the game. If Monroe could test defenses deep, for instance, then they wouldn't be able to sit in the box on his jet sweep plays.


8) Veterans have seven days to claim their spot. Brown said he told the veterans on Sunday night "if you don't have a spot leaving here, we're going to put freshmen in your place." He said the coaches would put a list on a board of the players who can help Texas beat the best teams that it plays, whether it's as a starter, or somebody who can help the Longhorns on a 12-20 play basis. If the veterans aren't on that list, and aren't strong on special teams, Brown said freshmen would be given first crack when they arrive in the fall.


9) Brown said he was "really excited" about the progress at quarterback. "There's been a lot of talk about David's leap," Brown said. "Case improved as well." Brown said the positional depth was such that the Longhorns have been able to bring along Connor Brewer more slowly, an ideal situation in that he's learning and getting practice repetitions without feeling the immediate pressure to be the guy.


10) Expect to see some unexpected players on the kickoff return team. The second half of spring practice will focus more on special teams, and that includes finding the best return men. Brown said the team would audition some new choices back there, including players like Thompson and Evans, who haven't really gotten a chance.


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