I think I jinxed the Horns' kick teams. Really. In Wednesday night's report, I wrote: "The good news on special teams? After one full pad, full speed practice, not a single blocked kick or punt. Yet. Knock on wood. Rub your rabbit's foot. Whatever." You folks out there must have neglected to tap on the timber and surely you've failed to caress whatever it is you happen caress for good luck (no descriptions, please). Since I wrote that, we've seen two punts and an extra point at least partially blocked in Thursday's scrimmage, a field goal blocked in Friday's morning practice, and now, another field goal blocked in Friday's evening practice. The blocking culprit continues to be walk-on Tien Van Nguyen. Nguyen smothered Dusty Mangum's 38-yard attempt by busting through the middle of the Horns' field goal protection unit. Again, whether this simply signals an ability by the Horns in general and Nguyen in particular to block kicks or whether it signals a breakdown in the team's kick protection is uncertain. We do know this: the history on this subject is not good. . . .
Brian Bradford got off all of his 11-on-11 punt attempts without incident. The only problem? The first one traveled just 33 yards in the air and the second one went the same distance (with another five yards of roll).
LDE Marcus Wilkins left practice after making a tackle on TE Bo Scaife near the end of the workout. We'll know more about Wilkins' status in the morning. With Wilkins out, Jermain Anderson played LDE and Reed Boyd manned the RDE spot for the second-team D. A snapshot of the second D on that series consisted of Stevie Lee and Austin Sendlein at DT, Aurmon Satchell at MLB, Derrick Johnson at WILL, Braden Johnson at SAM, Griffin at LCB, Ervis Hill at RCB, Phillip Geiggar at SS and Rufus Harris at FS (Kendal Briles also played the free safety spot and Aaron Ross played some at corner). If you're counting, that's seven true or redshirt freshmen on the second-team D . . .
Marcus Tubbs did not practice tonight (we'll have an update after Saturday's scrimmage), leaving the first-team DT duties to Adam Doiron and Maurice Gordon. Gordon's right ankle is heavily taped, but he did play. It's interesting to note that Gordon, after missing several days of practice, stepped right back in as the No. 3 tackle. At this point, after talking to D-coordinator Carl Reese and watching the rotation patterns, I wouldn't be surprised to see Gordon get the start alongside Tubbs come Sept. 1. . . .
Aside from Roy's catch described above, the biggest offensive play came to the hands of wideout Tony Jeffery. Literally. Simms fired a deep bullet to the redshirt freshman on what looked like a deep post, and Jeffery hauled in the perfectly placed pass almost without having to move his hands. . . .
We may have also gotten a preview tonight of a play we'll see a lot this fall: Victor Ike (or one of the other tailbacks) taking a pitch right and following the lead block of big RT Mike Williams. On that play tonight, Williams led Ike, clearing Wilkins out of the RB's path and setting up a nice gain around right end. That play (along with many in Thursday's scrimmage) also raises the concern that the second-team defense is going to struggle stopping the run. Luckily, the second-team defense should never see the field this fall, as a unit, when a game is on the line, but the quick but light back-up linemen, based on their play so far, certainly look better suited as pass-rushers rather than run-stoppers. And that's why a little ones vs. ones will be enlightening as to how good the Texas running game and the backs who have lit up the second-team D really are. . . .
Rover Lee Jackson missed practice again because of his "dinged toe." . . .
Another note from Thursday's scrimmage: Late in the 100-plus play scrimmage, all of the Horns' true freshman OLs saw action. Jonathan Scott, who'd seen practice snaps at right guard and right tackle before Thursday, played some left tackle in the scrimmage. Will Allen, who has probably gotten the most work of any of the frosh offensive linemen, continued to work at left guard. Mike Garcia played center Thursday, while Roman Reeves and Terrance Young played right guard and William Winston worked at right tackle. It's still too early to project fall PT for any of these guys. Juco transfer Alfio Randall, UT's other newcomer at OL, still holds down the No. 2 spot at left tackle. First-teamer Robbie Doane, who had an outstanding practice Wednesday and a solid scrimmage Thursday, is playing despite a swollen bursa sac. A bursa is a fluid sac that helps the muscles and tendons slide freely as the knee moves and the swelling causes pressure and thus pain when Doane moves his knee. As Greg Davis said Thursday, Doane is obviously a tough kid to play through the pain.