Gray looked ahead of schedule
Alright, so what I saw of Gray wasn't much. But it could speak volumes for how far along he is in his recovery from a torn right Achilles that forced him to miss the final four games of the 2013 season.
What I'm speaking of is Gray, in shorts and jersey, moving around very easily – somewhat chopping his feet acting like he was going to juke an oncoming defender – while the rest of the team was stretching.
I wasn't expecting to see Gray with a boot or a cast, or crutches, because I'd seen him outside of the football facilities a few weeks ago and he didn't have anything.
Still, to see him this shifty, joking around with teammates, and then to have Charlie Strong say he was one of the hardest workers on the team afterwards, speaks volumes for how far he's come since that gruesome injury.
Remember, I did have a source extremely close to Gray, who said they believe Gray will return by the BYU game. After seeing him on Tuesday, I don't doubt it.
Echols working with the first group
But he hadn't gotten very much playing time in the secondary since he arrived and I wasn't so sure he was going to get that much more with the emergence of redshirt freshman Antwuan Davis, who has as much raw talent as anyone in the secondary.
That said, Echols was the one who trotted out to the boundary corner when the Longhorns first went to their nickel package. Duke Thomas was the other cornerback, Quandre Diggs was the nickel, and Josh Turner and Mykkele Thompson were the safeties.
Sure it was only the first practice but Strong even said in his press conference after the fact that Echols is someone they see being able to play in those nickel situations.
Kudos to him, just count me a tad surprised.
First 5 linemen a bit misleading?
When the Longhorns broke out into position groups for the first time on Tuesday the first group of linemen to work together were (from left to right): Kennedy Estelle, Sedrick Flowers, Dominic Espinosa, Rami Hammad and Kent Perkins.
Now Desmond Harrison wasn't practicing because, as Strong said, "he is a little banged up," and that is key because Harrison will likely be the starter at LT. If that becomes the case, though, then what happens?
What you might see is Estelle move over to right tackle to replace Perkins. But Perkins is extremely comfortable on the right side having played there throughout high school and is going to be tough to beat out.
The good news for UT in all of this is that Joe Wickline has options. Heck, just look at his backups (from left to right): Darius James Taylor Doyle, Jake Raulerson, Curtis Riser and Camrhon Hughes. You've got four high school All-Americans in that group and the other won three state titles (Doyle). Not bad.