Saturday evening practice notes

The Horns worked out under the lights Saturday night at Denius Fields. Here are some notes from the evening practice session:

During the early practice special teams session, Victor Ike, Ivan Williams, Montrell Flowers, B.J. Johnson and Roy Williams worked on kickoff returns. Nathan Vasher and true freshman Aaron Ross handled the punt return duties. . . .

Like in the Saturday morning practice, B.J. turned in the highlight reel pass reception of the evening session, streaking down the left sideline stride-for-stride with Ervis Hill before making a perfectly timed leap at about the five yard line to pluck the Chris Simms pass from the sky for a 35-yard gain. Sloan Thomas also made a nice grab of another Simms' offering, this one coming in the left corner of the end zone. . . .

Simms, leading the first-team offense vs. the second-team defense in one-minute drills at the end of practice, also turned a fumbled snap into a long TD pass. The junior QB picked up a wayward snap on the first play of the 11-on-11 drill, scrambled left and found Montrell Flowers for a 50-plus yard catch-and-run TD. Matt McFadden, Dusty Mangum and David Pino each attempted (approximately) 37-yard field goals during the one-minute drill, with only Pino successfully scoring the three pointer. . . .

With five returning offensive linemen expected to take most of the snaps at four of the OL spots, there isn't much O-line depth chart drama except at left tackle. Robbie Doane continues to work with the first unit, but Alfio Randall is taking the second team snaps and could eventually challenge Doane for the start. Randall is joined on the second unit OL by LG Beau Baker, center Jason Glynn, right guard Trey Bates and right tackle Lionel Garr. True freshman Jonathan Scott, though, played right tackle with the second unit during the Horns' practice-closing one-minute drills. Freshmen Roman Reeves, Terrance Young and William Winston are working at tackle while Mike Garcia is playing some center and Will Allen guard. . . .

Good news/bad news on the injury front: true freshman safety Rufus Harris returned to practice but starting SAM 'backer Tyrone Jones did not practice because of a sprained shoulder. O.J. McClintock (arm), Anthony Johnson (foot) and Kyle Shanahan (quad) also did not practice. Brown said that McClintock won't return "until midseason at least, so we can't count on him." The coach said that Marcus Wilkins and Reed Boyd could easily be moved back to linebacker if needed, but the staff hopes to have four, if not five, capable DEs. Right now that number stands at three (Cory Redding, Kalen Thornton and Jermain Anderson). Along with Wilkins and Boyd, true freshmen Eric Hall and Lance McFarland will get a two-a-days audition for the back-up DE roles. Hall weighed in at 247 pounds and "is really quick and fast," according to Brown. "This morning on film he looked really good for a true freshman. I was impressed by him." Hall, who wore the fullback-like No. 35 during the first two days of practice, is now wearing No. 92, a more traditional DE number. . . .

In the enthusiasm department, secondary coach Duane Akina has picked up right where he left off during spring. The newest Longhorn coach ran 30 yards to give Rod Babers a leaping high five after the junior corner turned in a defensive gem in pass coverage of Roy Williams. . . .

Commerce Secretary, Texas grad and former Chairman of the UT Board of Regents Donald Evans attended the Saturday night workout. FYI, the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 provides for the following order of succession if neither the President nor Vice President can serve: Speaker of the House of Representatives, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Agriculture and Evans' post, Secretary of Commerce. . . .

The season opener countdown sign at Denius Fields read 21 Days Until New Mexico State. . . .

The Horns earned the No. 5 spot in the Associated Press Preseason Top 25 poll released Saturday afternoon. Florida, Miami, Oklahoma and Nebraska occupied the top four spots in the poll. The top five ranking is the first such honor for Texas since the 1984 team came in at No. 4 in the preseason A.P. poll. That '84 squad finished the season 7-4-1 and unranked.


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