B&Z REPORTING FOR HD

Meet Braden and Zach, aka B & Z, two HD members with some connections to UT athletics who have been put through Chip Brown's journalism boot camp (covering a Junior Day with Chip) ... and who happen to be current students on the 40 Acres. They rub shoulders with athletes on campus and hear stuff that they are now passing on to you in their new weekly column "B&Z Reporting For HD"

When we’re not running to grab Chip coffee, Braden and I will be doing our best to track down some information we hope you'll find useful in this weekly piece we call “B&Z Reporting For HD" - which will be released on Mondays.

You can expect film breakdowns, recruit updates and even some team news, plus whatever else you guys feel is important enough for us to go hide in a Dumpster like our mentor Chip.

Let us know each week what you would like to see or hear about, and we will do our best to find out as much as we can.

For now we hope you enjoy our inaugural contribution to our attack-free HD community, where we love pulling up a bar stool among friends!

 

TEAM NOTES - THE EARLY ENROLLEES:

In speaking with a source close to the team, one thing that is a certainty regarding this offense will be the man snapping the ball: Zach Shackelford.

Mature beyond his years. (The guy is still 18.) We're told Zach has turned heads on the coaching staff and in the locker room. 

“He’s extremely impressive," said our inside-the-program source, who will now be referred to as ITP. "He is working on being consistent with everything. But trust me, there’s no doubt who will be the starter going forward.”

Charlie Strong and his staff have done a fantastic job recruiting the type of offensive linemen the G-Force offense (formerly known as the Briles' offense) is going to require to be successful - technically sound with just the right amount of nasty. 

We fully expect Shack to make the same impact his starting freshmen predecessors - LT Connor Williams and RG Patrick Vahe - made. 

The other early enrollees have also made significant strides, and as Chip has noted, both WR Collin Johnson and QB Shane Buechele have really impressed ITP, “Collin has a very similar playing style to Burt. He’s a guy who will go up and fight for every 50/50 ball, and someone who is just naturally built to excel in this offense."

Meanwhile, ITP said, "Shane (Buechele) has absorbed the offense extremely quickly and is lethally accurate with the ball.”

 

RUNNING GAME GETTING AFTER IT: 

The QB situation is still sorting itself out and could remain muddled into fall camp, which means the running game is going to have to be a force. Chip has said he thinks Chris Warren III and D'Onta Foreman should split reps and possibly line up together in a two-back set.

ITP agrees:

“Both Warren and Foreman look great. The running game is easily the best part of this offense right now, and I expect those guys [Foreman and Warren] to each ideally get around 20 carries a game. The change of pace running backs will fight for the rest of the carries.”

Interestingly enough, ITP cited Roderick Bernard as someone who is exceeding expectations in practice. Look for him to possibly get some reps at RB moving forward.

With the team going full-pads for the first time last Saturday, you have to take this with a grain of salt, but hearing that the running backs are looking good this early really gets the blood going. Remember, multiple Baylor players said that Chris Warren was their toughest opponent to tackle, and we personally cannot wait to see what another year in the weight room has turned him into.

This is easily one of the deepest stables of running backs UT has had in a long time, which says a lot about just how good these guys are. 

When we asked about who appears to be a leader on the offense, ITP said, “No one has really stepped up to be that guy. I think the offense naturally looks to its quarterback for motivation, and while Connor Williams and other guys are technically leading, everyone is still waiting on a QB to emerge.” 

As for tight ends, our source indicates Caleb Bluiett is receiving quite a few reps. When asked to estimate, “He’s probably out there for around 40-50% of the snaps, some at sniffer (fullback), some running routes.”

This has to be welcomed news to a guy like 2017 Texas TE commit Major Tennison, who was able to take in Texas' practice/scrimmage this past Saturday.

 

TURNING TO THE DEFENSE:

The defense has a lot of work to do, but ITP commended the secondary, “They communicate really well, and I think they might be the closest group of guys on the team. 

"They’re learning how to adapt to this up-tempo style practice - just like the offense. But they’re doing a really good job of flying around and making plays.”

The defense has worked primarily in the nickel.

As for corrections being made when someone messes up, ITP indicates that GAs are on the field making corrections. This may not sound like the ideal way of coaching, but our source believes that the defense isn’t suffering because of it,

“There’s not a lot of time to coach, but it’s definitely enough time," ITP said. "The GA will point out the mistake. The player will internalize it, and then it’s time to go again.” 

On his overall impression of the coaching staff, ITP said, “They are all very cohesive and working together very well. Everyone is excited about the direction the team is moving.” 

 

THE KICKING GAME:
 
Michael Dickson has solidified himself as the starting punter this spring, showcasing a huge leg while simultaneously placing an emphasis on making that leg more consistent.
 
Yet, when Nick Jordan decided to forego his fifth year, the team was left with zero scholarships kickers and no experienced replacement. This leaves important openings at place kicker and kickoff specialist, which one of the 3 currently competing kickers hopes to secure. So far, redshirt junior Mitchell Becker appears to be leading amongst the trio, followed by the redshirt freshman Jon Coppens and redshirt sophomore Evan Moore.
 
A source close to the team tells us that in field goal drills Becker has gone 11/15 with a long of 53. Coppens has gone 7/14, while Moore has gone only 4/7 (Moore has had one less day of practice). According to our source, all 3 guys seem to still be working out some kinks.
 
For Coppens and Moore, struggles with operation times (the time between when the ball is snapped to when it is kicked) are holding them back. Ideally, the time from snap to kick should be around 1.2-1.3 seconds, but Coppens and Moore are hovering more around the 1.5-1.6 seconds mark.
 
Becker has consistently been around half a second quicker than Nick Rose was last year, but as a result he sometimes can rush through his motion. We were told that although these may seem like minor details, they are “sometimes more important that the actual kick itself.”
 
Another issue for Coppens right now is his leg strength. Our source tells us that at last Tuesday’s practice Coppens missed short from 43 and 48 yards out.
 
During the scrimmage last Saturday, Becker got all of the reps as the place kicker. Although it is early, it appears he has the confidence of Coach Strong.

The last thing our source indicated to us was that they have not seen one single kickoff rep at practice. We believe it is safe to assume that Becker is also leading for this position because of the other two’s struggles with their leg strength. 

 

ON THE RECRUITING TRAIL WITH ...

2017 4-STAR DE TAQUON GRAHAM (TEMPLE)

We had the pleasure of talking to TaQuon about his recruitment, which appears to be an in-state battle for the 4 star DE out of Temple. 

Q: What camps are you looking to go to this summer? Is there a school who hasn’t offered yet that you would like to hear from more?

TQ: “No camps honestly, and not really. I’m just sitting back and evaluating them all.”

Q: What schools have stuck out to you the most through your recruiting process?

TQ: “Texas, TCU, Baylor.”

Q: Do you have any visits planned for this spring or summer, and when do you plan on trimming down your list?

TQ: “I will visit a couple schools out of state, and during the mid-summer I’ll cut down my list.”

Q: What about UT has stuck out to you as the reason they’re one of the schools on that list?

TQ: “They’re the school I grew up watching on Saturdays.”

Jason “Stone Cold” Higdon has mentioned TaQuon as a guy to keep an eye on moving forward, so we’re excited to hear more about him in the future.

 

IN THE FILM ROOM WITH ...

Each week we plan on evaluating a couple recruits we feel the community should pay extra attention to, and this week features 2017 4-star S Grant Delpit of Houston Lamar and 2017 4-star OT Grayson Reed of Cypress Creek

 

2017 4-STAR S GRANT DELPIT (HOUSTON LAMAR)

VIDEO OF DELPIT'S JUNIOR HIGHLIGHTS

Delpit is definitely a prototypical Charlie Strong DB. Listed at 6’2, 175, Delpit is a Scout 300 player and Scout's No. 4 safety in the state of Texas.For comparison, Reggie Nelson was 6-feet, 175 pounds when Charlie Strong was recruiting him to play at Florida.

Nelson was eventually drafted in the first round by the Cincinnati Bengals. After looking at Delpit’s highlight film, it’s apparent from the very first play that this kid has a nose for the ball. His eyes are locked on the QB every play, and he looks incredibly natural at the safety position.

He definitely loves to deliver vicious hits. At the :37 mark of his Scout highlight video, Delpit delivers two huge blows.

But Delpit's desire for the big play definitely affects his tackling. At the :57 mark of his Scout highlight video, you can see how his aggression results in poor tackling form. 

Delpit reminds us of Kenny Vaccaro, someone who is going to pick the ball off one play and get flagged for roughing the kicker the next. He seems to be all LSU/Miami at this point. But it wouldn't hurt our feelings if Strong and Co. made a push for this incredibly talented player.

 

2017 4-STAR OT GRAYSON REED (CYPRESS CREEK)

VIDEO OF REED'S JUNIOR HIGHLIGHTS

The 6-foot-4, 290-pound OT from Cy-Creek is an absolute road grader. When he gets his hands on you, it’s game over, and he loves to pile drive/throw/completely man-handle the opposing player.

He is constantly pulling, but he takes forever to get going. Furthermore, he has almost no pass-pro on his highlight film, which leads us to believe that his lack of agility hinders his drop kick. Personally, we see him inside at OG, where he can take full advantage of his immense upper-body strength.

Under the right coach, Grayson has the potential to be a star, and I (Zach) look forward to seeing him play in person this fall. 

Definitely keep an eye on Grayson’s recruitment, as Higs has mentioned a pro-UT trend developing in his recruitment.


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