Thursday practice notes

Another day under the tent for the Longhorns as the rain continued to fall in Austin. Will the lack of full-field practice time this week hamper the Horns? Mack Brown addresses that issue plus the anticipated Aggie defensive strategy and more.

The Horns practiced under the tent on the roof of Moncrief-Neuhaus for the second consecutive day Thursday as thunderstorms continue to blanket the Austin area with rain. The area under the tent is probably no more than 30 yards by 50 yards, which severely limits what the team can accomplish. Matter of fact, the offense and defense practice at separate times because of the space limitations. "Offensively, we didn't get to work on the passing game for two days because we don't have enough room in this tent," Mack Brown said post-practice. "It's like working in a gym with Astroturf. It concerns you some about your young punters and snappers and holders because you've been on Astroturf for two days and we're not gonna play on Astroturf, we're gonna play on grass. And probably the biggest concern is the secondary and the option with all the reads because you can't go full speed when you don't have a full practice field." . . .

The head coach said he anticipates that NMSU's defense will put nine in the box and try to cover the wideouts in man in an effort to force the Horns to throw the ball rather than run it. ". . . that's what people do against us for whatever reason," Brown said. "I can't figure it out with the ability that we have at quarterback and receiver, but normally that's what people do when we play them. . . . What we would like to do is do either and be able to dictate either when we want to." On offense, the Aggies will probably (and not surprisingly) try to play ball control and rack up a big time of possession advantage. . . .

Bo Scaife is the likely starter at tight end, although Brown said the coaches are "de-emphasizing starting with this team." The coach pointed to several positions aside from TE -- LG with Tillman Holloway and Derrick Dockery, strong safety with Nathan Vasher and Dakarai Pearson, and even DT with Marcus Tubbs, Maurice Gordon, Stevie Lee and Adam Doiron -- where the Horns have multiple "starting" players. Brown said at those positions, guys rotate in and "everybody plays like a starter." Plus, the coach added, there is "less drop-off this year between the ones and the twos." . . .

Brown said that the Horns will wear CP stickers on their helmets throughout this season to honor the memory of Cole Pittman. Next week's North Carolina game will be dedicated to Cole. "We talked about Cole a little bit today especially for next week since that game's dedicated to him," the Texas head coach said. "His family couldn't come this weekend or we would have dedicated this game to them. His dad came down for the scrimmage last week and still couldn't come in. It's still hurting him so much." There will be a pre-game ceremony next week involving the Pittman family.


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