Texas Working on OL Depth

One of the recurring themes this preseason is that Texas coach Mack Brown isn't entirely happy with the depth on the offensive line.

That's not to say that it's a huge concern. The Longhorns like their top five: Donald Hawkins, Trey Hopkins, Dominic Espinosa, Mason Walters and Josh Cochran. Two more could even be added to the mix, as Brown has singled out senior Luke Poehlmann and junior Thomas Ashcraft as likely contributors. But past that point, Brown said the Longhorns are still looking, and still trying to develop a second five that can be used to spell the starters in case of injury or fatigue.

So just how close are they?

"At times we've looked like they can do it and you know rolling guys in and around is you know one way to do it," Walters said. "But as far as we are from having the second five where Coach Brown wants them that they can come in and play with no drop off, we're close, you can see it at times. But the thing that we were talking about earlier is just consistency being able to do it all the time."

Walters said that consistency was the primary thing holding back former top offensive line recruit Sedrick Flowers, a redshirt freshman that Walters described as somebody who comes off the ball "really well."

"He's not far at all," Walters said. "It's just really building that consistency, and Sed's talented. It's just gonna be getting more comfortable in the offense, more experience, seeing more looks. So he's playing football … he's just reacting and not having to think through every step of the process."

On the other end of the spectrum is Ashcraft. While most people expected Poehlmann to be in that rotation — he's been somewhat a part of it since just before his knee injury back in 2010 — that Ashcraft emerged above Flowers as the top guard off the bench is somewhat of a surprise.

"He's kept his nose to the grindstone," Walters said. "Thomas hasn't broken the starting lineup but he hasn't been discouraged by that at all. He knows he still has time here. If he continues to work hard and gain the trust of the coaches he's going to see more playing time."

Walters said that it could have been difficult for Ashcraft to have to wait his turn, particularly as younger players jumped over the top of him in the pecking order.

"From an outside standpoint I'm sure it would be," Walters said. "But at the same time you know Thomas is a really good guy and anytime we've talked to him he's only worried about this team getting better and he wants to know his role in it and get better at that."


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