Football: Update on Kirk-Hughes and Holloway

Notes from Tuesday's Denius Field practice session, including an update on the injury status of Antwan Kirk-Hughes and Tillman Holloway, and from Mack's Monday media luncheon:

Tuesday practice notes: LG Tillman Holloway has been diagnosed with a recurring stinger and will miss this week, including Saturday's game with Kansas, before being reevaluated early next week. RG Antwan Kirk-Hughes returned to practice today but his status for Saturday's game remains uncertain. Greg Davis said the OL rotation will depend on whether Kirk-Hughes can play. If Kirk-Hughes can't go against the Jayhawks, Beau Baker, who the OC said "deserves a pat on the back" for his play in relief of Holloway from the 22nd play on in the Baylor game, will get the LG start, and Derrick Dockery will start at right guard, while starting center Matt Anderson could play some guard if needed. The offensive coordinator said redshirt freshman Jason Glynn is ready to and capable of playing "many snaps" at center if Anderson slides out to guard. Davis said that if the Horns have any injury problems at tackle, Dockery will make the move to tackle. Back-up LT Alfio Randall and back-up RT Lionel Garr have gotten some late game work this season, but they aren't ready to step in with a game on the line. Following this weekend's game, Holloway and Kirk-Hughes will have the benefit of an extra week of healing time. The Horns don't play again until Nov. 23 in College Station vs. the Aggies. . . . Mack Brown said the Horns had a "great practice" Tuesday afternoon. Before the workout, the head coach talked to the team about the latest BCS numbers and the Kansas coaching situation. Of the BCS, Brown said he told the team, "I can't tell you why Tennessee moved up, but it doesn't matter anyway. Every team has a lot of tough games left . . ." The coach also said he "asked the players last week to start acting like a top five team," and that meant playing well and handling the distractions that go along with being highly ranked. "They practiced today like they want to be a great team Saturday," he said, calling the "tempo and energy" as good as any Tuesday practice the team has had.

Notes from Brown's Monday media luncheon: The head coach said this weekend is about the seniors. Brown's first group of four-year seniors (plus a smaller group of fifth-year seniors) will play its final game in DKR-Memorial Stadium Saturday and the coach said one of the challenges this week will be to make sure they "don't get so emotional that they don't play well." The Horns faced a similar situation earlier this year for the Cole Pittman Memorial game vs. North Carolina. In that one, vs. a far better team than Kansas, Texas, despite a flood of pregame emotion, played well enough to beat the Heels 44-14. . . . Brown briefly commented on each of the seniors who will gather Saturday at the Freddie Steinmark Scoreboard before running onto the Memorial Stadium field pre-game for the final time: Antwan Kirk-Hughes, Mike Williams and Matt Anderson -- "Great senior offensive linemen."; Major Applewhite -- "We probably wouldn't be where we are today without Major. It was tough to see Major hurt. If he hadn't gotten hurt at Tech last year he'd probably still be the starter."; Mike Jones -- "He'll always be remembered for his touchdown against Nebraska."; Montrell Flowers -- "He made a lot of big plays for us"; Ahmad Brooks -- "He may be the most improved player on the team."; Tyrone Jones -- "He's best known for his field goal blocking ability and the players call him Sky-rone."; D.D. Lewis -- "When we got here he was a redshirt freshman fullback and he's been a great linebacker for us."; Everick Rawls, Jermain Anderson and Ervis Hill (and Tyrone Jones)-- "The Texas City guys have all paid for their scholarships (with their play on the field). Every one of them started. Every one of them won games for us. They all have a good attitude, they haven't been in any trouble and they all should graduate. If we had to do it again, we would sign all of them again."; Maurice Gordon -- "He's had his best year this year and his best game last Saturday."; Quentin Jammer and Mike Williams -- "Two of the best players in the country."; Marcus Wilkins -- "Started for us and contributed on all special teams."; and Corey Bradford -- "Played Saturday and we'll look at him at guard this week." The coach rattled off some pretty impressive stats for the group: a 35-12 overall record, including a 24-6 mark in the Big 12; the chance to become the first UT group since '61-'64 to have four consecutive nine win seasons -- "We've asked them to leave that legacy," Brown said; a 20-2 home mark, including 10 straight home wins; and playing in front of sellout crowds in 14 of the last 16 home games. . . . More of the head coach on the seniors vis a vis this team's ability to avoid a letdown and essentially ignore the many possible distractions: "This is a group of seniors that has been around a long time and they've played a lot of football and we've been there before where we inched into the top 10 and they understand how hard it is to get there and that it's even harder to stay there. I think more than anything else that this team's bought into is you can't turn it on and turn it off, you need to play good every week. And if we're going to be good, we've got to win three more games at least that we know of to have a chance to finish in the top 10. If it's national championship game, if it's a BCS game, it doesn't matter, we're going to play wherever they tell us to play but this team has really bought into that and they haven't had a flat game. They've played well every week and I've been impressed with them. I think that's because it's an older group that has a lot of presence right now and they understand the deal and I hope we'll see that again this weekend." . . . Brown expects the Kansas coaching change to have a positive impact of the play of the Jayhawks this weekend. Tom Hayes, KU's defensive coordinator and now interim head coach, will be considered for the job on a permanent basis, and Brown said we'll probably see the players play hard, and, without the imminent firing of Terry Allen hanging over their heads, with no pressure and well, in an effort to convince the decision makers to keep the current staff. "I think we'll get a better effort (from the Kansas players) than if nothing had changed," Brown said. . . . Hayes was a defensive coordinator or assistant head coach at UCLA ('82-'88), A&M ('89-'90) and OU ('91-'94) before coaching the secondary for the Washington Redskins of the NFL from '95-'00. This is the Jayhawks' new man's first season in Lawrence.


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