Scaife, Tight Ends Highlight First Practice

Said it before and I&#146;ll say it again: I feel it in my Burnt Orange bones that Texas&#146; tight ends are going to come up big against Oklahoma. That&#146;s why the refreshing play of Texas&#146; bevy of TEs, especially that of fifth-year senior <B>Bo Scaife</B>, was a welcomed respite in the triple digit heat at Denius Field on the first practice day of the 2003 season.

Sophomore TE David Thomas, the leading receiver in April’s spring game, drew applause with his diving, opposite-shoulder grab of a Chance Mock pass. FB/TE Brock Edwards collected a Mock pass on the west sideline and sprinted virtually untouched toward the north end zone.

But it was Scaife who drew the biggest ovation (not to mention a couple of gasps) when he went airborne to register a towering, one-handed grab from QB Vince Young. Inside Texas caught up with Scaife, who practiced Thursday like a man who lusts for the ball, following the Horns' Thursday workout.

"I’m hungry," Scaife said. "It’s all I’ve been thinking about for a year. It felt good to be out there with my teammates. I felt pretty good out there. I’m tired and hot, but my knee feels pretty good. That’s all I could really ask for."

The last time we saw Scaife, he was setting career highs for receptions (seven) and yards (84) in Texas’ Holiday Bowl win over Washington in 2001. He was an honorable mention All Big 12 selection that year after posting 396 yards on 30 grabs.

But Scaife’s career has twice been put on hold as result of knee injuries, sitting out both the 2000 and 2002 seasons.

"It was miserable," he said, "but at the same time it was like a blessing in disguise. To sit back and watch, I was able to learn and become a better player. I’ve taken a lot of baby steps, so hopefully it will all work out."

Those who have endured season ending injuries know that half the battle is also rehabbing a bruised psyche and learning to mitigate the fear of recurrence.

"I wasn’t really worried about re-injury," Scaife said. "There’s a couple of things I need to overcome, mental things like that. But as far as it being a concern, I feel good."

Scaife’s return to the gridiron caught the eye of his head coach.

"I’m really proud of Bo Scaife," Mack Brown said. "Brock Edwards really looked good at fullback. David Thomas looked really good at tight end. But for Bo Scaife to come back after three knee operations and to be out there today and catch balls and run, he looks like he’s in great shape. It’s a real credit to him."

Depth has become as much a luxury at TE as it was depleted last year. In fact, Neale Tweedie (following a surprisingly effective stint at TE during spring ball) has moved back to the OL, backing Jonathan Scott at left tackle.

Scaife and Edwards have been named to the 2003 John Mackey Award watch list, presented to the nation’s top D-I tight end. Texas is the only school to field two candidates. Both rank among Texas’ all-time Top 10 in tight end receiving stats. In addition, Scaife has been listed as the fourth-best TE prospect for the 2004 NFL draft, according to The Sporting News Pro Football Review.

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