Freshmen stay at it; veteran Shanahan injured

Just 24 hours before the Longhorn veterans report, UT announced that one of those returners suffered a major cut that required surgical work. And no, we're not still talking about <B>O.J. McClintock</B>.

Junior walk-on wideout Kyle Shanahan, one of the surprise standouts of spring, suffered a major cut in his leg Saturday when he tried to jump a fence in his backyard and was gouged by a wrought iron post. The injury, which required two hours of surgery to clean and repair his quadriceps muscle, left an eight-inch scar on the upper part of Shanahan's left leg. His fall status will not be determined until after he arrives on the Forty Acres tomorrow, but Mack Brown said this morning, "We're hoping to have him back maybe even for the first ballgame." The coach said Shanahan should recover quicker than O.J., who is not expected back until mid-season. The junior defensive end sustained a serious cut to his arm two weeks ago, but because of the more extensive and widespread damage to his arm vs. the deep nature of Shanahan's cut with relatively small surface area damage, Brown said Shanahan's recovery time should be quicker than McClintock's. "He's in great condition," Brown said of his walk-on wideout. "He's worked so hard for two springs now and a fall and especially this summer to get himself in position, so hopefully this won't be a huge setback for him."

The non-football related setbacks are certainly piling up for this Longhorn team and the veterans haven't even taken the practice field yet; first the injuries to McClintock and now Shanahan in what can best be described as freak accidents (plus the tragic loss of DT Cole Pittman in a car accident earlier this year). McClintock's loss makes the depth situation at DE mighty precarious while at receiver, the Horns obviously have several talented wideouts, and it's doubtful other teams around the country will feel much sympathy for the Horns because of the loss of a walk-on wideout. But Shanahan emerged from spring as one of the Texas QB's top targets and the team's most consistent pass catcher. The 6-3, 170-pounder earned the No. 2 spot at flanker behind B.J. Johnson and a first-unit role in both the Horns' three- and four-wide sets and looked to be a possession and third down threat as well. So Shanahan's loss, if he is indeed forced to miss any game action, will be felt with redshirt freshman Tony Jeffery moving up a spot on the depth chart into the back-up role to Johnson. Jeffery, while talented, is still raw and not as ready for immediate action as the veteran (and coach's son) Shanahan.

Wednesday morning practice notes: With most of this class of newcomers occupying positions either on the offensive or defensive line, the best drama so far during the three freshmen practices has been the one-on-one battles between the offensive and defensive big uglies. Today, the OLs seemed to have their feet under 'em a bit better than yesterday, when the DLs mostly dominated the drill. I saw far more standoffs today, although Lance McFarland continues to show a great burst off the ball on the outside. OL Terrance Young also flashed a bit of 'tude when he blocked DT Kaelen Jakes to the turf and laid out his 340-pound frame on the prone Jakes. DT coach Tolleson didn't take kindly to Young's treatment of his charge Jakes, and loudly let Young know about it. I don't think Tolle wants his DTs treated with kid gloves by the OLs, but I'll bet he doesn't want to see any of them hurt (ever, but particularly given the Horns' depth situation on the DL) in a one-on-one blocking drill two days into freshman camp. Hence the coaches' oft-repeated order to "stay up" rather than fall to the turf and have an ankle or knee twisted or sprained. But since there was no harm done, I like Young's early relentless attitude, something the Texas OL needs more of throughout its ranks. . . . Alfio Randall did not participate (although Brown said he hopes to see him on the field tonight), while Rufus Harris and Anthony Johnson remain sidelined. Cedric Griffin also joined the red jerseys today after tweaking his ankle yesterday. . . . "I've been pleased with some of the young kickers that have come in," Brown said today. "They've got good legs and we've kicked them into the wind and we've tried to kick them with some pressure." James Baker and Dusty Mangum continue to show the most leg strength, although David Pino showed some pop late in practice by giving a couple of near 40-yarders a ride into a strong wind. Baker had the most impressive kick of the day, nailing a 35-yarder that would have been good from 50 into a 20-plus-mph wind. The snap and hold factored in to some of the (rather frequent) field goal misses today as the coaches audition snappers including Nick Schroeder and Jonathan Scott and holders including Brian Carter and Kendal Briles. I think we'll get a better idea of these guys' abilities when they are working with an experienced kick unit, which should happen Saturday morning.

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