Texas Media Notes

From Wyoming notes to building speed on defense, 10 quick hits from Monday's media availability.

1) Texas will honor some old traditions, and create some new ones when the Longhorns kick off against Wyoming. Texas coach Mack Brown, on his 61st birthday Monday, said Longhorn legend Darrell Royal would be honored as an honorary captain Saturday. But those heading to the game would be advised to show up early. Texas will start a new tradition where the Longhorns arrive at 23rd and Robert Dedman at 4:30 p.m. (you can tell the time because Smokey the Cannon will be shot-off), and walk down the hill through the north gate to the stadium. The new team walk will be called the "Stadium Stampede." Additionally, the Longhorns will unveil a new video highlighting the Longhorn tradition and successes, titled "It's a new day," to be shown when the team enters the field.

2) Other than kicker Anthony Fera, the Longhorns should be good to go from an injury standpoint. Fera will miss the Texas opener, but according to Brown, "the medical staff thinks everybody else is probably OK."

3) Jackson Jeffcoat had a couple revealing tidbits on Monday. First, he said that he planned to play basketball as a freshman, but was derailed by his ankle injury. Then, he said that he planned to play after last season, but his torn pectoral muscle kept him from playing, and convinced him to become football-only. And finally, Jeffcoat revealed that he played with his torn pectoral muscle for three full games, Texas A&M, Baylor and California. This is the same pectoral muscle injury that derailed NFL All-Pro Mario Williams last season. Says something about Jeffcoat's toughness, and about his talent, that he was able to close the way that he did despite essentially playing with one arm behind his back.

4) On Thursday night, the Longhorns went through their final scrimmage of preseason camp, an "install" scrimmage in which the Longhorns went through everything from the new walk to the stadium to coming out and playing a 7:06 p.m., just like Saturday's game time. Among the standout performers were David Ash and M.J. McFarland, though none of the three starting wide receivers played.

5) Brown said that Ash had potentially his best practice since he's been at Texas. "He was very accurate, and looked great." Harsin said that what impressed him about Ash was his increased level of consistency, especially from a decision-making standpoint. And he said both quarterbacks did a much better job of avoiding turnovers.

6) McFarland was listed as one of the other scrimmage standouts, with Brown pointing out that he made a few nice plays in the passing game. Brown went on to say that despite the fact that McFarland wasn't listed on the three-deep depth chart — D.J. Grant and Greg Daniels are listed as co-starters with an -OR- between them and Barrett Matthews is listed as the No. 3 guy — he would play. Brown said the Longhorns would use all four.

7) The Longhorns will be young, and good, in 2012, according to Brown. Brown recalled a conversation he had with Royal about young players, where Royal said that it was fine to be young, as long as you were good. Brown said Texas should fall into that category. How young? The Longhorns still plan to employ a number of true freshmen, albeit not as many as last year's 19, and probably not as many in huge roles. This year, Brown said there were 15 true freshmen on the depth chart, occupying 18 overall spots, including on special teams.

8) Don't focus too much on the nose tackle versus defensive tackle (or, in football vernacular, nose versus three-technique) position. Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz stated that the Longhorn defensive tackles could all play both, especially since he said that the nature of the defense often left it playing without a true nose, a position he described as a Secret Service agent taking bullets for somebody else. Both Brandon Moore and Chris Whaley could play either nose or defensive tackle, he said.

9) Diaz somewhat debunked the "hybrid" defensive players theory, essentially stating that the term hybrid was generally used to describe players who were simply fast for their position. "Peter Jinkens is a linebacker," Diaz said. Of course, Diaz said the goal was to have 11 guys who could run to the football, and noted that the real test of a defense's speed was how fast the defensive line was. Once the quarterback pitches the ball to the outside, he said, all 11 players become a linebacker.

10) Wyoming is somewhat of a tough scout, with a new defensive coordinator (who utilizes multiple fronts and essentially, multiple defenses) and a new special teams coordinator. But it's probably safe to say that the Cowboys are headed for another nice season under Mountain West Coach of the Year Dave Christensen. They return a top quarterback in sophomore Brett Smith, who accounted for 3,332 total yards and 31 touchdowns last year as a freshman, and a bunch of key pieces of defense.

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