Day One: Brown Says Horns In 'Great Shape'

The &quot;best off season since we&#145;ve been here&quot; (<B>Mack Brown</B>, February) leading to the &quot;best spring training since we&#146;ve been here&quot; (Brown, April) has resulted in the &quot;best summer workouts that we&#146;ve had since we&#146;ve been here&quot; (Brown, August 7). Is it just a bunch of coach-speak, or will it translate into Texas finally being the best of show in the Big 12 since&#133;well, since Brown&#146;s been here?

What it meant during the first day of preseason workouts at Denius Field Thursday was a more revved up and spirited session than many predicted.

"When you’re in shape, practice is more fun," Brown said. "We set the tempo but they kept up with it. That’s the biggest thing. They’re in good enough shape. They ran through it, and they focused throughout the practice."

This, despite the strength-sapping triple digit heat and Brown’s remarks Wednesday about slowly assimilating the freshmen.

"We felt like that, since they’re in great shape, we wanted to set a tempo with them early," Brown said. "This was probably a faster pace. We got more in today. We’ve got older guys, so we’re going to push them a little bit faster than we have in the past. The guys work year round for 11 to 14 games. The seniors know it’s their last trip. A lot who haven’t played very much had a chance this summer to improve their status, and they looked good today. I know we’re not in pads yet, but there are some names that we’ll be talking about that we didn’t talk about last spring."

For the second straight day, Brown’s roll call of the new, improved Longhorns (as in pumped up and tightly cut) focused on junior RB Cedric Benson. The dreaded one looked damn fast, particularly in making his cuts on a blistering afternoon.

"I think he looked quicker today than I’ve ever seen him," Brown said. "He’s in great shape because he stayed out there all day. I was really pleased with him coming back in top condition. He looks so much stronger up top. I am really pleased with what we saw today out of Cedric."

Of note, sophomore C Will Allen worked with the first team OL instead of junior incumbent Jason Glynn. We’ll see if it lasts, but the 6-2, 275-pound Glynn (who started all 13 games in 2002) gives up four inches and 30 pounds to the challenger. Although Allen struggled with his snaps out of the shotgun, Brown euphemistically has said that Glynn "got overpowered a couple times" last season.

Junior Stevie Lee (6-4, 315) is back at his old DT spot after shifting to the OL last spring. More to come about this, but the move speaks to the need of shoring up the D-line rather than the oft-criticized offensive counterpart. At various times since the spring, coaches have called out the DTs for failing to attain a championship level of strength and conditioning. Defensive coordinator Carl Reese has singled out senior DT Marcus Tubbs and sophomore DT Larry Dibbles for scrutiny while RS-freshman DT Marco Martin looks like he could go into labor any day now.

Meanwhile, Eric Hall and Brock Edwards worked with the first team offense at fullback as senior Ivan Williams is still sidelined with the knee injury suffered last February in a pickup game of basketball.

For the first time in 25 years on Day One of August practice, freshmen worked alongside varsity athletes.

"They (freshmen) will be incorporated in the system a lot quicker this way than the way before when they had four days of orientation," Brown said. "Some of them had to jump in there today and go full speed."

Following 30 minutes of stretching, Texas will practice each day this weekend at 3:30 p.m.

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