Youngsters To Get More Snaps At Baylor

For several Longhorn freshmen, particularly the DBs, the future is now. SS <B>Michael Griffin</B>, RCB <B>Tarell Brown </B>and LCB <B>Aaron Ross </B>have been pressed into action as of late, in part because depth in the secondary will be at premium when Texas faces nationally ranked Oklahoma State and Texas Tech&#146;s record-setting passing attack in a couple of weeks.

Saturday’s game at improving but outmatched Baylor (3-4, 1-2) provides an opportunity to further the freshmen initiation process. FS Dakarai Pearson’s shoulder injury has meant extra playing time for RS-freshman Matt Melton, who backs Phillip Geiggar. Meanwhile, injuries at LDE have pushed true freshman Tim Crowder and RS-freshman Chase Pittman to the forefront.

"I’ve got to play healthy people," defensive coordinator Carl Reese said. "Anybody that’s gimping around out there is not going to get on the field. Not if I can help it, because I think that’s hurt us in the past."

Coaches have commended Griffin’s aggressive style of play as well as his sound fundamentals.

"Griffin’s done a really good job," Reese said. "He’s making tackles and making plays in space. I like the way he’s come along and helped us. He’s got to stay with it and stay hungry."

The kid could probably teach his older counterparts a few things about wrapping up and had two TFL and two sacks against Iowa State. His 25 tackles leads all true freshman.

"We think he’s got a chance to be really good," head coach Mack Brown said.

Brown added that Tarell has "played really well all year." The North Mesquite product was both a Parade All-American and a USA Today first-team selection during his senior season. Look for the freshman on deep return when Baylor kicks off Saturday. Brown wants S Geiggar logging less special team duty now that he’s a starter and Selvin Young slowly recovering from a groin injury.

"He (Tarell) didn’t get a chance to get the ball in his hands (at ISU) but I want to see him run the kickoff back," Brown said.

The youngsters are more likely to enter the game when Texas is in man coverage, Brown added. The secondary goes to zone coverage about one-third of the time in recent games.

"It’s easier to play man with them than zone," Brown said of the freshmen. "It’s easier to turn them loose and let them go do something."

The young DBs played anywhere from 25 to 30 plays at Iowa State.

Freshman Eric Foreman could start splitting time with senior Reed Boyd, Reese said, particularly against two TE formations. Coaches have stood by Boyd because of his experience and ability to read an offense.

Personally, I've said that Boyd is an overachiever who I am sure is doing the best he can. But it’s been an exasperating two-year stretch to see Boyd, time and again, take himself completely out of the play. (I honestly thought Brown was going to yank him against LSU last Jan. 1). Part of the reason why we’re seeing more nickel and dime packages is to get a better athlete than Boyd on the field. While admitting there is a tendency to promote highly-touted freshman, I say with two losses and the worst-ever loss to Oklahoma already on the books, it’s time to cut losses with Boyd and not be afraid to play Foreman.

Freshman Tim Crowder is slated for his fourth start at LDE now that sophomore Bryan Pickryl is headed for a medical redshirt season.

MLB Aaron Harris started the season at No. 3 on the depth chart but emerged during the Kansas State game after Brian Robison got banged up late in the third quarter. Coaches are considering a medical redshirt for starter Garnet Smith. Harris was in on 30 snaps against ISU and Reese commended the sophomore for his ability to get to the quarterback. He was credited with five QB pressures Saturday.

"He blitzed well; he was in his (QB’s) face," Reese said. "And he’s doing better in other parts (pass coverage) of his game."

Meanwhile, sophomore Mike Williams is now ready to play an entire game, Reese surmised, and will likely start at RDE against Baylor despite the fact starter Kalen Thornton practiced Tuesday and Wednesday. Thornton reinsured his knee the third play against Iowa State and was sidelined seven snaps later.

"I thought Williams did a good job (against Iowa State)," Reese said. "He’s more of a pass rush guy. I’m ready to play the guys who finished the game."


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