True frosh Tim Crowder has so impressed coaches that he will be Kalen Thorntons primary backup at RDE. Crowder is bracketed with sophomore Kaelen Jakes, but the freshman got far more snaps than did Jakes during the preseason and is probably the first off the bench at that spot.
Five redshirt freshmen listed as backups are: QB Vince Young, LDE Chase Pittman, WLB Marcus Myers, FS Matt Melton and SLB Brian Robison. (Dont be surprised if the 6-3, 245-pound Robison nudges incumbent Reed Boyd by seasons end for the starting spot.)
With a late flurry, sophomore Richmond McGee has booted sophomore Taylor Landin as Texas punter. Landin ended the spring in the spot, but McGees strong finish means the Garland product will handle both kickoff and punting chores when Texas opens against New Mexico State this Sunday (6 p.m., Fox Sports Net.)
"Richmond is punting better than we thought wed be punting right now," head coach Mack Brown said. "Thats a pleasant surprise. Hes stepped up, and thats not something we anticipated coming into camp."
The only scholarship special teams player, P Justin Smith, is not even on the radar screen at this point. Dusty Mangum and David Pino "are in a real battle" for the field goal kicking duties, added Brown, who said he will go with the more experienced Mangum on Sunday.
"Our kicking game that was a question mark is something were excited about," Brown said. "I think it has a chance to be good, but its not there yet."
Sophomore Will Allen will start at RG, where he'll alternate with sophomore Mike Garcia and occasionally spell C Jason Glynn. Allen had been working with the first team O at center before fracturing his right (snapping) had the first week of the preseason. Allen has learned to snap with his left hand and has drawn the praise from his head coach for his toughness.
"Its amazing to me," Brown said. "He has yet to have a bad snap. The first day (of preseason) he had one on the ground on an inside drill, but he hasnt had another bad snap in either the shotgun or in regular snapping with his left hand. Hes been an amazing story."
At long last, sophomore Larry Dibbles is starting to emerge and will back sophomore phenom Rodrique Wright at LDT while junior Stevie Lee (following a stint on the OL during spring ball) is listed behind senior RDT Marcus Tubbs.
Sophomore Michael Huff (who started 10 games last year at SS and three at LCB when Nathan Vasher got hurt) could be all over the field. As of Monday, he is bracketed with junior Phillip Geiggar for the starting SS spot but is also listed as the backup RCB and LCB. Injuries sidelined Huff in both spring training and August two-a-days, allowing Geiggar to emerge.
Geiggar was especially explosive as a KO returner in all three scrimmages and will line up beside RB Selvin Young as the deep back on the starting return team.
In addition to Crowder, four other freshmen are likely to play Sunday, according to Brown: CB Aaron Ross, CB Tarell Brown and LB Eric Foreman. About a half-dozen other freshmen will decide by mid-season whether to redshirt, Brown added.