Mike Davis is Back
One of the popular storylines down the stretch last year was how Davis, after a strong freshman year and a good start to his sophomore season, faded out in final weeks. Davis dealt with several personal issues at the time, and though he declined to get specific about those issues, he said they were in the past.
"The way I see it is last year I had a lot of distractions with stuff going on," Davis said. "Overall now, I am a better person and better player. I have my head on straight, and I am ready to win.
"I feel loose, focused, energized, and just happy to be out there," Davis said. "I love playing the game that I love playing and enjoy doing every day at practice. With my role, I am really not a vocal guy and I just lead by example. I just do what I am told and do it the best I can."
Davis said he tried his hardest last year, but added that his focus just wasn't always there because of his off-field issues.
Going into the summer, I have had a different mindset," Davis said. "My mind was clear, and I was ready to work and grind. I have just been grinding all summer. Actually, I had some great times with some of the former receivers who came back. I worked with them, the other receivers as well, and the young ones that just came in. I have just been getting better at my craft, at my game, and just doing what I need to do to help the team win."
John Harris Also Finding a Role
Ever since he finished up his redshirt season, the Texas coaches have talked about what a healthy Harris could mean to the Texas offense. Unfortunately in 2011, those comments were typically uttered after Harris got hurt, and were used to talk about the impact Harris could have made.
Now, Harris is healthy and has been practicing with the first-team unit in the slot as Marquise Goodwin comes back slowly from track.
"I'm physical. I'm a big guy. I'm not [Jaxon] "Ship" [Shipley] and I'm not Mike [Davis]. I'm not really just a speed guy. But my size — I've got big hands and long arms. I use my big body to block and get in people's way. Take those big hits that maybe they can't take."
With the way he's played, expect the coaches to continue to make comments about Harris's potential impact, and if he can stay healthy, don't be surprised if he adds an additional element.
"John's one of those guys that obviously is a big-bodied guy," Shipley said. "He's really physical. He goes up and gets the ball. I think that's his main strength – going up over people and catching balls."
Blocking an Emphasis
While Harris stands out as the best example of a mean, big-bodied receiver lining up with ill intentions as a blocker, making blocks on the outside has actually been a major emphasis for all of the receivers.
"The mentality in the wide receiver room has been all about being tough," Shipley said. "Being physically tough. Being mentally tough. We've been working a lot on our blocking game. Obviously, we're working on our routes and stuff. But one of the things we've been focusing on is just being mentally tough. We've got a lot of good young guys coming in here. And these older guys, everybody is just coming together. The attitude has been more to attack. Not to ever give in. It's all mental for us."