Baylor week football practice notes

Notes from the Horns' three pre-Baylor workouts:

Antwan Kirk-Hughes did not practice at all this week because of an injured right ankle, the severity of which UT officials are keeping tightly guarded. A UT sports information official today would only describe Kirk-Hughes' status as "day-to-day" while the coaching staff would not comment at all, fueling speculation that the senior right guard's injury is more severe than originally thought. Veteran Kirk-Hughes, if cleared by the medical staff, could play Saturday despite the missed practice time, but that seems highly unlikely. The decision on whether he will even travel with the team has yet to be made. . . . C Matt Anderson, QB Major Applewhite and CB Quentin Jammer are this week's team captains. The coaches pick the captains from among members of the Leadership Committee, a group voted upon by the players. . . . "We did a pretty good job of focusing on Missouri and we've gotta be mature enough this week to handle it again," Mack Brown said of his team's in-game concentration in Columbia. The 11:30 kick time should help; fewer games going on or completed, so less opportunity for scoreboard watching, according to the head coach. . . . Brown's two biggest concerns coming out of the Missouri game and headin' in to the Baylor contest are the tackling of the defense and the poor play (including missed tackles) of the Horns' kickoff unit. The coach said part of the recent poor tackling and the poor coverage in general on kickoffs is the result of errant kicks by the kickers. "One of the most important things on kickoffs is (the coverage) guys know where the kick is going," he said. That hasn't been the case in two of UT's last three games. Brown said earlier in the week that the coaches would "go back and look at every person on the kick coverage team to make sure they're not taking things for granted" towards the end of the season. No word yet on any personnel changes on the kick coverage unit but the head coach said Thursday that he has elected to stick with Dan Smith on kickoffs. . . . Dusty Mangum's chip shot miss on the Horns' first drive of the Missouri game may have been the result of a high snap, Brown said, which caused the freshman field goal kicker to take a stutter step on his approach to the ball. . . . Carl Reese said Wednesday that Everick Rawls was the Horns' standout LB in Columbia. The defensive coordinator, though, said that Rawls and Derrick Johnson will continue to alternate at the weakside 'backer spot. "(Johnson) had his freshman flash," Reese said, "but now that he's in the gameplan, he's playing about like the rest of (the linebackers)." The DC also said he'd like to get SLB Reed Boyd and MLB Aurmon Satchell more playing time over the season's final few games in preparation for their anticipated increased roles next fall. . . . OC Greg Davis said C Jason Glynn and WR Brian Carter are the two younger guys he'd like to get on the field a bit more down the stretch. . . . Against the Tigers last Saturday, the offense continued its expanded use of "trick" or "gadget" plays. Although several of them went for minimal or even negative yardage, Davis said he plans to continue to call three, four or five per game. "They're not always going to be huge gainers but they are still things the defense has to work on," he said. . . . Davis said Cedric Benson has had success running out of every formation, but he's had the most success out of the three-wide, single-TE, single-back sets. . . . Benson, who is within striking distance of Ricky Williams' UT freshman rushing record (he needs to average 139 yards per game over the season's closing three-game stretch of Baylor, Kansas and A&M), said Tuesday that he only has one goal, to "do everything possible to win. That goal (encompasses) all the others." Benson also said that in the Mizzou game he felt like "two, three, four, five times I would've been gone but for one last guy. It's making me get real anxious to get it . . . my mindset is just to know that it's gonna happen." . . . The Nov. 10 Kansas game will kick at 11:30 and will not be televised.

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