Who Can Come Out And Play vs. NMSU?

Okay, we all know Texas should have a comfortable halftime lead against the Sand Aggies of New Mexico State. The germane question is when should coaches play backup QB <B>Vince Young</B>, and when do you pull SE <B>Roy Williams </B>as a precaution, and when do you force depth at, say, linebacker and along the offensive front?

And when do you give dazzling RS-freshman walk-on WR Eric Enard (the "Rudy" of the 2003 Longhorns) a chance to shine on game day as he has done during the preseason? And do you substitute Selvin Young if RB Cedric Benson is rolling? With the depth chart largely set, setting the substitution pattern is the issue now facing Mack Brown and staff in the waning days before Sunday’s season opener.

"We’re still looking at how many plays we can get guys who aren’t starters, and when do we substitute, and how do we substitute," Brown said Tuesday.

So far, nothing is carved in stone but rather etched on chalked boards.

"That’s what we talked to the players about today," Brown said. "We’re going to watch films from today and yesterday and start deciding who’s going to play on Sunday night."

Personally, I have wanted to know for quite some time (and finally got around to asking) how Brown intended to manage the quarterback situation with regard to meaningful snaps in actual games. Obviously, part of the way Brown has handled the situation (and, so far, able to mitigate a quarterback controversy) is to name junior Chance Mock the starter from day one. Obviously, Brown is not going to rotate Mock and Young as he did Major Applewhite and Chris Simms in 2000 until the Oklahoma debacle. Presumably, Young will not be subjected to insignificant mop-up time as was Mock last season.

But with two signal callers who could start virtually anywhere, the question remains: when, and how much, does Young touch the ball?

"We’ve talked about playing Vince; we haven’t talked about when or how," Brown said. "And we haven’t talked to Vince about it. But as we get closer to the game, we would start doing those things."

That kind of conversation will take place Thursday. That’s when Brown will meet with his staff and discuss, in earnest, the amount of playing time they will generally expect from each player on the two-deep chart.

"I will always like for them to talk to the players about what they think we’re planning, understanding that it may change," Brown said.

Part of it, of course, is dictated by actual game conditions.

"If it’s the kind of game where they’re not allowing us to run the ball so we’re throwing it a whole lot, it changes personnel some," Brown said. "At opening game, we’ll have two or three different thoughts about what you might do and then adjust to whatever shows up. We used to talk about opening games being survival; whatever is thrown at you, you catch it and handle it and bobble it and get your hands cooled off and then go back and work on it. That’s about what you do. The only thing that’s important Sunday is that you’d like to be healthy and you want a ‘W’. Other than that, you’re going to have a bunch of things you’re going to need to work on. That’s why they’re called opening games."

While the two-deep chart includes true freshman DE Tim Crowder and six RS-freshmen, they remain an unproven commodity until thrust into the heat of battle.

"All those freshmen do really, really well, and then when they sing ‘The Eyes of Texas’ they run out of the tunnel, they hyperventilate," Brown said.

Players practiced one hour at Denius Field (for individual drills) before entering the indoor practice facility for 11-on-11.

"I see excitement in our team about getting ready to play an opening ballgame because they’re tired of the ‘each other’ thing. They’re ready to get after someone other than themselves. You get to this point in two-a-days and, after spring practice, your players can call out the plays. They can call out the defense. They can say, ‘Here comes the blitz!’, so they’re ready to look at another colored jersey."

They'll get that chance Sunday evening at DKR at 6 p.m.


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