Defense Sets Tempo On Opening Day Of Spring

Head coach <B>Mack Brown </B>said the Texas defense "set the tempo" during the first day of Spring Drills at Frank Denius Field Monday, but that would be an understatement. Defenses are typically ahead of offenses on opening day but, in this case, the Longhorn 'D' displayed the kind of in-your-face intensity and aggression that Brown has been paying lip service to the past couple of seasons. Have the two new defensive coaches already made a difference?

Also see: Monday Practice Observations

"They were chasing the ball and the (coaches) had them stirred up," Brown said, "and the offense caught up to them with their enthusiasm and effort as the practice went through."

Both Co-Defensive Coordinator Greg Robinson and assistant head coach/DE coach Dick Tomey were a couple of whirling dervishes, and it clearly gave the impression that their firebrand personality had lit a fuse under their charges even though it was just the first day in shorts. (It was as if Co-Defensive Coordinator Duane Akina had been cloned.)

"One of the things we can do better is make sure we're more aggressive with (the players) and they respond to it," Brown said. "If we come out here with that attitude, they won't have the opportunity to stand around."

The fiery tempo was set long before Monday, Robinson is convinced.

"Our guys, through our off-season conditioning program, we've been working with that kind of intensity," Robinson said. "Our challenge was to see if we could take the same intensity from our off-season conditioning program and maintain it through practice. For the most part, we were able to maintain it. I thought there was a lull there two-thirds of the way through but it picked up at the end. But I liked the effort the guys put out. They were attempting to do it the right way."

Brown commended the QBs for their accuracy -- a bit generous of a statement but, then again, Texas is breaking in a new set of receivers. It wasn't lost on anyone that RS-freshman Limas Sweed was wearing Roy Williams' jersey number. Sweed will remind you of the Legend in both size and gait. He seemed at ease and fluid in his routes, laying out his body for the ball on a number of occasions. The Burnt Orange crystal ball says that unheralded WR Eric Enard is going to surprise opponents next fall.

"The young receivers have a lot of work to do but there's some guys out there with enough talent that they have to keep working," Brown said. "We'll see how they do after the first seven days of spring practice because they've got big shoes to fill."

Aside from Sweed, the most impressive of the receivers was TE David Thomas and TE Bo Scaife who returns for his, what, 11th season? Coaches are cross-training the TEs this spring in order to present multiple offensive looks next fall. Brown singled out Thomas in particular who took snaps at H-back and FB.

"He's moving around. He's in motion. He's doing so many different things and he did them really well," Brown said. "I think what we're doing is really good for him and Bo Scaife."

Tuesday's practice, the last one open to the public other than Saturday's scrimmage at DKR, is set to begin at 3 p.m.

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