Sophomore C Will Allen, right hand heavily bandaged to his elbow, took some snaps with the first team today but centering the ball with his left hand. The heir apparent to the spot that junior C Jason Glynn held for all 13 games last year suffered a fracture near his right thumb on Friday. Glynn worked with the first-team during 11-on-11, in front of redshirt freshman Lyle Sendlein and true freshman Dallas Griffin.
"He started today, just two days out of the hospital," Brown said. "We know he can play guard. Hopefully, hell be back for the first game (August 31, New Mexico State). If not, it will be Arkansas (Sept. 13). But he started to work to snap with his left hand today. Hes a tough young man."
Williams was a lethal weapon out of the backfield last season (273 yards on 20 receptions) but both Edwards and converted FB Eric Hall had ugly drops Monday. Hall let a Matt Nordgren rollout pass hit him squarely in the numbers before falling to the turf. Later, Edwards was open cutting in from the right flat as a Chance Mock toss slid through his fingers.
Williams has yet to be cleared to practice following a knee injury suffered during a pickup game of hoops last February.
Meanwhile, the tight ends look awesome! One of senior Bo Scaifes more remarkable grabs was his diving catch of a low Mock toss in front of SS Phillip Geiggar (subbing for Michael Huff who injured a knee Thursday). During goal line drills at the end of practice, sophomore David Thomas turned a 3rd-and-five into a twisting, turning, opposite shoulder reception about 20 yards down field.
"Weve got more guys who are closer to the ability of the guy in front of them than weve ever had," Brown said. "Weve got more depth than weve ever had. We dont have as many great players as some think we do, but weve got a lot of really good players, so our coaches have got to do a better job of evaluating playing time at each position than weve ever done. And thats fun for us. Weve got to do a good job and make sure we put the right ones on the field."
Stop me if youve heard this one before, but
"(Junior FL) Tony Jeffery has shown, the past two practices, that he can work with those three older guys (SE Roy Williams, SE Sloan Thomas, FL B.J. Johnson)," Brown said, "so it really helps us if weve got four instead of three. Tony has made some big plays for us. We want him to be the same guy as those other guys."
The key defensive battle, of course, remains for the LDE that Cory Redding held since God was a boy. Right now, its sophomore Bryan Pickryl, who started five games as a true freshman but sat out spring drills following off-season shoulder surgery. Junior Austin Sendlein, redshirt freshman Chase Pittman, sophomore Kaelen Jakes and sophomore Mike Williams (if healthy) could also see time at LDE. In addition, it will difficult to keep a redshirt on freshman DE Tim Crowder (6-4, 235) who has been more explosive than many anticipated from the RDE spot.
Sophomore Garnet Smith had such an amazing spring at MLB that Inside Texas made him its cover boy for the publications summer edition -- but don't discount RS-freshman Brian Robison. (Hes hard to miss with his neon dye job but, thankfully, hes been harder to block.)
"Brian and Garnet are really competing for that spot right now," Brown said. Brian has come on and done a good job."
And, of course, the competition remains just as, uh, adequate, among punters, FG kickers and place kickers.
Meanwhile, the fact that freshmen reported with the varsity for the first time in 25 years as a result of a new NCAA statute seems to have paid off for Texas. This years signees have assimilated quicker into the program (among other things) compared to the top-ranked class of 2002, Brown noted.
"Last year, I saw more freshmen that came in with an air about them -- that they were really cool and that they were really good -- than I have seen with this class," Brown said. "Maybe its because this class had to work against the older ones immediately. They didnt have enough time to talk about how good they were. This class has come and joined the team easier than last years class."
At the same time, boys will be boys.
"The younger ones dont like the drill work in many cases," Brown observed. "Youve got to get better at drill work. Youve got to do the fundamental things right and, a lot of times, the best players weve had right out of high school, their coaches were working with all the other guys. They didnt spend a lot of time with them, so the young guys have to learn to work. But they all like to play, and you can see our intensity pick up when everybody puts on pads."
Texas first true two-a-day is set for Tuesday, 7:15 a.m. and 7:05 p.m., at Denius Field.