Spring Preview: Position Changes And Holdouts

The official Spring Football depth chart won&#146;t be released until Monday -- the first day of drills for the Texas football team -- but you can already pencil in position changes at key spots as head coach <B>Mack Brown</B> enters his seventh season as Longhorn coach.

Sophomore Brian Robison will start off at DE instead of MLB. The Horns will be thin at DE this spring since junior Bryan Pickryl (shoulder) is expected only to participate in non-contact drills while sophomore DE Tim Crowder (sore leg) will be limited in the early going. Junior Eric Hall will shift from FB to DE. Thomas Marshall will move from DT to RG.

Senior Austin Sendlein and Kaelen Jakes will slide over from DE to DT.

"Because of our limited numbers at end, they may have to play both," Brown said.

Sophomore Neale Tweedie and true freshman Tony Hills will play both TE and OT. Hills, a Parade All-American, was considered the offensive jewel of the 2003 recruiting class. When he reported to campus for the first time this spring after extensive post-surgery knee rehabilitation, a buffed-up Hills tipped the scales at 6-6, 270.

"He’s in good shape but he has not run at full speed in a contact drill for a full year and a half," Brown said. "He’s had a severe operation or two in between that time. Expecting him to go out there Monday and be comfortable and confident would be asking too much. He has done really well in the off-season program (which ended at 8 a.m. this morning). We started him slow and tried to figure out if he would be comfortable. Not only is he comfortable, he’s in great shape. He worked really hard before he got here. The doctor would have to tell you if he’s 100 percent. I don’t think so. We feel like if he’s not 100 percent at tight end, then he can work in a smaller area faster to get some playing time before he moves outside to where he would be running full-speed routes down the field."

Several players will train at more than spot to allow for a multiple formation offense. TEs Bo Scaife and David Thomas will also take snaps at FB and WR.

"(Thomas) and Bo Scaife can give us a lot of different variables by being in the huddle at the same time but lining up at three or four different positions," Brown said.

Senior Will Matthews and sophomore Albert Hardy will workout as both FB and TEs.

"Those positions will be interchangeable," Brown added. "That’s something we’ve been trying to do for the past couple of years. We feel like with our experience at tight end, the experience we now have at fullback but also lack of experience at wide receiver, that will give us a chance to use more change-ups."

Senior OL Lionel Garr (knee), freshman DB Bobby Tatum (shoulder) and junior OG Terrance Young (broken wrist) will not participate in spring drills, Brown announced. Sophomore Billy Pittman (pulled muscle) may also be limited in the early going.

The team is scheduled to practice in shorts, 3:30 p.m., on Monday and Tuesday before sessions are closed to the public. A 2 p.m. scrimmage, open to the public, is set for next Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Horns Digest Top Stories