Tuesday practice notes and analysis

The Horns practiced for two-and-a-half hours at Denius today in the 104-degree midday heat. <B>Mack Brown</B> said, "It wasn't the best day of practice but it was a conditioning day and everybody handled the heat well and everybody seemed to work throughout practice ." Here are some notes and analysis of UT's 15th full-squad August workout:

SAM/rover Lee Jackson is back in the boot protecting his injured left toe. Defensive coordinator Carl Reese said today that, for the time being, the coaches are planning to have Jackson back in the line-up by the opener, but if the senior is not back on the practice field by next Monday, they'll look at some other guys at the position for game one depth. The first choice looks to be former utility LB Marcus Wilkins. Wilkins, who continues to impress with his speed off the left edge as a defensive end, would probably play both SAM 'backer and end, Reese and Mack Brown said today, if Jackson remains sidelined. Reed Boyd, the Horns' other LB-to-DE summer convert, could move back to the WILL or MIKE spot if needed. "(Wilkins and Boyd) are going to be back-ups at both places until O.J. gets well," the head coach said. Boyd, after missing most of Saturday's scrimmage and both of the Horns' Monday workouts, returned to practice this afternoon and alternated at second-team right DE with Jermain Anderson. Freshman Aurmon Satchell is a 'backer that Reese has said has the ability to play multiple spots (he played both outside spots in spring and is now running second-team in the middle and getting a lot of first-team snaps recently while D.D. Lewis nurses a sore wrist), but the D-coordinator said Satchell will remain, for now at least, D.D.'s back-up at MLB. Derrick Johnson will play in the opener, but because the true freshman linebacker is still learning the WILL position, that spot is the only one he is likely to see action at early in the season. . . .

If the season started today, Robbie Doane would get the start at left tackle and Derrick Dockery would back up both Doane on the left and Mike Williams on the right at tackle. Brown said Alfio Randall has "come a long way," but he's not quite ready to step into live game action. Because Dockery will basically be the top back-up at LT, RG (to Antwan Kirk-Hughes) and RT, look for Tillman Holloway to get the start at LG to allow Dockery the flexibility to slide into all four OL spots aside from center as needed. It's not surprising that Dockery will be counted on as utility man on the line after watching the second-team line perform today. On one series in particular during 11-on-11, Major Applewhite, fronted by LT Randall, LG Beau Baker, C Jason Glynn, RG Trey Bates and RT Lionel Garr, had the white jersey of a Texas defender in his face on every passing attempt. . . .

After pointing out Wilkins' domination of Garr during several one-on-one drills in earlier reports, I feel compelled to give Garr some credit. During scrimmage work today, the redshirt freshman RT, on one play at least, kept Wilkins at bay, pushing the senior DE outside and away from QB Chris Simms. . . .

After an extremely sharp passing game workout last night, both QBs had a bit of trouble putting the ball into the hands of the downfield receivers during 11-on-11 today. Most of the QBs' completions were short dump passes to the RBs or quick hitters to the outside to the TEs and WRs. Simms completed one deep ball, but it went to the guy in the wrong colored jersey. Trying to hit Roy Williams deep, Simms instead slightly underthrew the pass, and despite a pretty solid defensive attempt by Williams on cornerback Michael Huff, the true freshman made the pick. Amidst the downfield incompletions (and the interception), both Simms and Major managed one relatively long gainer, Simms on a bullet to Montrell Flowers for about 15 and Major on a thread-the-needle job into the seam of the secondary and into the hands of Tony Jeffery for about 20. Simms, in goalline work, also put one perfectly in the hands of Sloan Thomas over true freshman Aaron Ross for a TD. . . .

Both Maurice Gordon and Adam Doiron worked with the first-team D and are fighting for the start alongside definite starter Marcus Tubbs. "We're still looking for that other defensive tackle," Brown said Tuesday. "We've got some numbers there but we need to have production there." Stevie Lee and Miguel McKay are also in the mix, but there work is almost exclusively with the second-team D, so they are more likely (currently) battling for back-up snaps at the position. . . .

The Texas kickers Tuesday had by far their most productive day since early last week. Dusty Mangum easily split 'em from 37 and 38 yards on his only two 11-on-11 attempts. Starting punter Brian Bradford also showed consistent length and height, hitting a 56-yarder (50 yards in the air with a six-yard roll out of bounds at the four) and a high 40-yarder that Ross had to fair catch. The junior college transfer also sent another high and 38 yards that Ross fair caught at the eight. Justin Smith punted twice, totaling 40-plus on both of his attempts (one with good hang time, the other a bit low and returnable, which Nathan Vasher did). Brown said as of today Mangum holds down both the field goal and kickoff jobs. "We'd rather him not have to do both but right now he's been the most consistent at both," Brown added. . . .

During the early-practice special teams work, the coaches had Vasher, Ross, Ahmad Brooks, Phillip Geiggar and Quentin Jammer working on a drill I hadn't seen from the Horns before: the returner would stand with his back to the punter (actually a coach throwing the ball high in the air toward them) and wait until the ball was on its downward flight before turning around, finding the ball in the air and then running to make the catch. And in the few minutes I watched, I didn't see a single drop. . . .

The Horns will have their last two-practice day tomorrow, starting with a short (50 minute) workout in the morning at Denius and finishing up with a 6 p.m. scrimmage at the stadium tomorrow evening. "We need to finish strong tomorrow night, we need to stay healthy tomorrow night but we want all the young guys to have a good look at a good crowd under the lights at the same time that we will play New Mexico State and we're trying to get the circumstances of the game exactly the same," the head coach said. "We'll have a pregame meal, we'll have our meetings that coincide with game day meetings and we'll try to put them in an atmosphere that they'll have in two weeks." What will be the areas of focus tomorrow night? "What we'd like to do is clean up the things where we still have question marks," said Brown. "We'd like to continue to see improvement in our kicking game. We want to see us run the ball like we've been running it because it's an emphasis for us. We'd like to have the focus in our passing game that we had in the second scrimmage and be pretty balanced throughout and we'd like to see the ones dominate on both sides and get some kick returns and some blocked kicks." Starting Thursday after Wednesday's final two-a-days scrimmage, the staff will start installing the New Mexico State game plan and will run full scout teams during practice.


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