Speaking of Benson, Mack Brown said Monday that the coaches planned to talk about getting the true freshman back in the ballgame earlier vs. North Carolina, and I followed up on the head coach's comments with Davis. "What we don't want to do with players is say, You're gonna go in on the third series, and then they punt us dead at the one," Davis said. "We have no hard and fast rules . . . but we're going to try to get him in the rotation earlier." The coordinator said the plan against NMSU was to get Benson some first half snaps, but because of the circumstance of the game (the blitzing from the Aggies and the success that Victor Ike and Ivan Williams had both carrying the ball and protecting the passer), the coaches held the true freshman until the fourth quarter. "He'll play earlier in this ballgame, there's no question," Davis said. "It's (the coaches') call," Benson said, "but of course I'd like to get in sooner." . . .
I also asked Davis if the coaches plan to try a different rotation at left tackle this week because of the threat that Julius Peppers presents, and the coach said Robbie Doane will again get the start, with Derrick Dockery also part of the rotation out there. Davis said stopping Peppers won't be a job just for the tackles, but for the backs (in protection) and for the scheme (more three-step drops and quick releases from Chris Simms). "Well try to do things to offset him as a pass rusher," Davis said. He said that does not include using Alfio Randall at the tackle spot. Davis reiterated that Randall is not ready yet to face live D-I competition with the game on the line. . . .
Kyle Shanahan, after returning to organized workouts earlier this week for the first time since spring, experienced a bit of soreness today, but Davis called it "good sore," not injury-related sore. He will play Saturday in the Horns' five-wide sets as the middle receiver on the three-receiver side of the field. Roy Williams practiced again today and Davis said he thinks his sophomore wideout will play against the Tar Heels. Brown said tonight that Williams' ankle problems are a result of bone spurs. The head coach also announced that DE O.J. McClintock will begin practicing again on Sept. 11 (next Tuesday) and could be back on the field for game action by the Sept. 22 Houston contest. . . .
In our game notes and analysis following the NMSU game, I talked about the lack of receiving production from the Texas tight end position (although Bo Scaife, Brock Edwards and Mike Jones certainly contributed as blockers, as I pointed out). Davis said that Saturday's zero-catch performance from the tight ends was an aberration. "We have a bunch of plays to the tight end in the package," the offensive coordinator said. "Matter of fact, I called several plays that I thought the tight end would catch it but what (NMSU) did defensively dictated the quarterback went elsewhere." After reviewing the film, Davis said Simms, who made many correct reads including the ones mentioned above, missed an opportunity to hit one of the tight ends over the middle. . . .
The Horns were forced to the tent atop Moncrief-Neuhaus again today, which in turn forced the team to have a split workout, first the defense, then the offense. The need for a full-sized indoor practice facility has become quite apparent over the last two weeks, with the team forced by weather into very limited workouts on three of its last five practice days.