Wednesday Scrimmage: What To Look For

Texas’ first scrimmage of the 2003 season is set for 3 p.m. at Royal-Memorial Stadium. Typically, scrimmages go a long way toward depth chart decisions in that the context is intended to approximate actual game day situations and crowds.

"We’ve still got a lot of inexperienced guys that need to play the game," head coach Mack Brown said. "We’ll have a lot of game situations in the scrimmage. We’re not trying to keep score, or defend the score. We’re looking at people, and we’re still looking at schemes. I think the changes we’ve made so far on offense are working, and we’d like to see them continue to improve some."

The changes would include both personnel plus an offensive package that, more often than not, hardly resembles the self-contained, close-to-the-vest, play-not-to-lose, feast-or-famine, do-we-trust-the-running-game?, do-we-trust-the-statuesque-drop-back-quarterback? play calling of the past couple of seasons.

I pray to the Burnt Orange God that we will, in fact, be blessed this season with the revved up offense that exploits speed at quarterback, a confident running game plus unprecedented talent at receiver, that we saw nearly every day last spring, and so far during the preseason. If so, Greg Davis will be your new best friend. If not, he’s one of the most creative practice coaches in the country practice coaches in the country but too gun-shy to use his arsenal in the line of fire.

We’re talking lots of motion, misdirection, sprint options, roll-outs, plus schemes that not only get RBs Cedric Benson and Selvin Young in the same backfield but also the best tight end tandem in college football in Bo Scaife and David Thomas.

Texas ran 40 plays in its opening scrimmage last year, with the first-team offense squaring off against the No. 1 defense for 10 plays. That, however, will be a midday coaching decision Wednesday, Brown said.

"So far, we’ve stayed fairly healthy so we may can have more (plays) than we had last year at this time," Brown said. "You’d like to get 40 or 50 because they’re still pretty fresh. Ones-against-ones is very competitive, and that’s good. We do it every day in the practice part of it when they’re working against each other."

But mainly, scrimmages are meant to give coaches a chance to look at younger players.

"We want to get the young guys into the stadium and get some spirit around them," Brown said. "We had a bigger crowd (at Tuesday night’s practice) than a lot of people have at their opening games, so it was good for them to have some crowd watching them. It puts some pressure on them in a strange way. It makes them more excited."

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