Mack Brown Presser Notes

Texas coach Mack Brown talked about the Longhorns' first scrimmage and the development of the team so far.

1) The Longhorns held a scrimmage over the weekend, and several players were held out. That includes kicker Anthony Fera, defensive tackles Ashton Dorsey and Alex Norman, linebacker Demarco Cobbs, defensive end Hassan Ridgeway, tight end Miles Onyegbule and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin. Fera's timetable is unclear, while Dorsey, Cobbs and Goodwin were all good to practice on Tuesday. Norman has a nagging ankle injury, while Ridgeway hasn't practiced in pads because of a hamstring. The coaches are bringing Goodwin along slowly as he readjusts to football from track. If Fera can't go for the season opener, Nicholas Jordan and Ben Pruitt would be the field goal kickers.


2) The defense is ahead of the offense, but the offense is making strides. That includes a one-turnover performance in the scrimmage, with the lone turnover coming off an interception off a pass dropped by a tight end. The pass hit the tight end in the hands, ricocheted off and was picked off. Texas coach Mack Brown said the offense also had some sustained drives, and said that they were in a much better place than they were last year.


3) That includes at quarterback, where Brown said the Longhorns had two players who "could play right now and still win a game for us." Brown said that Texas was in its best overall position in terms of depth, but conceded that they weren't as good at the starting position as they have been with previous All-Americans at the position.


3) At the same time, Brown said that he didn't think the Longhorns were in a spot right now to play three quarterbacks. "If we played today, we would not play three," Brown said. That was a reference to Jalen Overstreet potentially seeing time in the Wild formation. Brown didn't discount that possibility, but said that the Longhorns hadn't decided whether they would run the Wild formation, much less who would run it.


4) Brown said that the Longhorns knew what they had in the three returning tailbacks, so they tried to get the ball as much as possible to freshman Johnathan Gray in the first scrimmage. But Brown lumped Gray in with the rest of the freshmen who struggled at the first scrimmage, stating that it was typical for freshmen to struggle in that situation. Orlando Thomas was one of the few freshmen who didn't have freshman moments. "We hope they got that out of their system last night," Brown said. "They will come to practice with a different attitude today, I'll tell you that."


5) There's about a week to 10-day period where the Longhorn coaches will decide who will play this year. After what Brown called a "physical scrimmage," the coaches decided that it was still too early to make too many roster determinations. There's a second scrimmage scheduled for Sunday, and after that point, the coaches will likely start to truly whittle down which players will make contributions this year.


6) Brown's biggest concern at this point is depth. Brown said that the Longhorns have avoided major injuries to key contributors, but he said he also felt like there was a sizable drop off from starters to backups in certain positions. On the offensive line, Brown said he felt comfortable with six players, including Luke Poehlmann as a potential rotational guy. Sedrick Flowers needs to step up, he said.


7) Too soon to say Texas has a great defense? You bet it is, Brown said. Brown said that the Longhorns had several good players on the unit, but pointed out that he thought Texas's defense would be great before the season in 2010, "and we weren't."


8) Texas is doing a better job of blocking at the wide receiver position. Brown said that Darrell Wyatt had done an "amazing" job with that group, and went on to say that blocking at that position — often overlooked — could be key toward Texas producing more explosive plays offensively.


9) Texas is still looking for some answers at tight end. Brown said the unit struggled in the scrimmage and dropped as many as five passes. He said they did block better than they caught, and pointed to Greg Daniels as a net positive at the position who could step in and play Luke Poehlmann's blocking tight end role. But Brown said the players there needed to step up more.


10) The Longhorns are auditioning players for kickoff returner, though punt returner is in a better spot. Punt returner will likely be manned by Quandre Diggs and Jaxon Shipley, while kickoff returner is the mix of "the normal suspects" and a few new names. Brown listed off Goodwin, D.J. Monroe, Mykkele Thompson, Sheroid Evans, Daje Johnson and Duke Thomas, before mentioning that he might have missed somebody.


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