Spring Football: Monday Practice Observations

Notes and observations from the Horns' Monday practice at Denius.

With the team still days away from practicing in pads, Monday's first workout of spring didn't necessarily provide much insight into the potential outcome of the playing time battles that will be fought once the pads are strapped on (away from the inquiring eyes of the media and Longhorn fans), but it did provide an early look at where some of those battles might take place, and among whom.

Here is a look at how the Horns lined up today at several positions where there is some uncertainty at either the starting or back-up spot:

Split end
Limas Sweed
Tyrell Gatewood
Eric Enard
Billy Pittman

Tony Jeffery
Brian Carter
Dustin Miksch

Jonathan Scott
Neale Tweedie
Kyle Thornton

Mike Garcia
Kasey Studdard

Jason Glynn
Lyle Sendlein
Dallas Griffin

Will Allen
Trey Bates
Thomas Marshall

Justin Blalock
William Winston
Tony Hills

Mike Williams/Chase Pittman
Brian Robison

Chase Pittman/Mike Williams
Eric Hall

Rodrique Wright
Larry Dibbles
Austin Sendlein

Stevie Lee
Tully Janszen
Kaelen Jakes

Aaron Harris
Garnet Smith

Eric Foreman
Aurmon Satchell

Derrick Johnson
Marcus Myers
Robert Killebrew

Cedric Griffin
Tarell Brown

Aaron Ross
Brandon Foster

Michael Huff
Michael Griffin

Phillip Geiggar
Matt Melton

Observations: It was interesting (and a bit surprising) to see Cedric Griffin working at first-team corner. One of the most speculated upon moves this spring was a Griffin return to safety (where he played well as a redshirt freshman) following his disappointing sophomore season performance at cornerback. Seeing Aaron Ross at the other spot was not a surprise. Barring a total collapse, Ross should be one of the starting corners when the '04 season kicks off in early September... Of the true/redshirt freshman corners, Brandon Foster impressed the most with his back pedal, fluid movement and ability to stay engaged with the wideout. Foster made a nice pick, stepping in front of Tyrell Gatewood during twos vs. twos work. But Foster is also awfully short. When he lined up across from fellow redshirt freshman Limas Sweed, he appeared to give up almost a full foot in height to the 6-5 and long-armed wideout... Speaking of Sweed, donning the No. 4 just adds to the uncanny resemblance to the recently departed No. 4 of considerable renown. As Bill pointed out, he has a similar gait and pass-catching style to Roy Williams, and he also has those skinny lower legs and big feet. And in Williams' absence, Sweed is already the most impressive wide receiver on the team (based on comments from guys on the team). One difference: Sweed is slightly skinnier but also taller than Williams, who despite his UT listed height of 6-4 measured in at less than 6-2 1/2 at the recent NFL Combine... Tony Hills, on the other hand, appeared even bigger than advertised. Listed at 6-6, 270, he looked similar in build to starting LT Jonathan Scott (6-7, 305) as the two walked between practice fields a couple of paces apart during drills. In other words, he looks like an OL at this point... Neale Tweedie is still officially listed by UT at 255, but he's almost certainly up15 or 20 pounds from that fall weight. Given his agility and quickness, if he is in the 275-pound range, he could challenge for playing time as a back-up tackle (capable of game-on-the-line snaps) this fall... Although Garnet Smith worked with the second-team Monday, he has an All-American build. Of all the linebackers, including Derrick Johnson, Smith most looks the part of a devastating hitter and physical specimen. (Also, although tough to tell for sure, Eric Foreman appears to have added to his somewhat slender, 215-pound fall physique.) Smith got a pick off a tipped Chance Mock attempt in twos vs. twos work... Steve Richardson also snagged another errant Mock attempt during 11-on-11. Perhaps, like Samson, it's in the hair. Or rather the lack thereof. The formerly shaggy senior QB has a very Aggie-like close cropped 'do this spring... The QB wrist play chart made its debut, with all three scholarship signalcallers sporting the holder on their lower left arm... It's just one day, but it continues a trend from last fall: the Texas punting game is going to be in good hands with sophomore transfer Greg Johnson. The lefty can absolutely boom it, Monday consistently sending return man Selvin Young scampering backwards 10 or so yards during his special teams session work... I mentioned earlier that Sweed has already awed his teammates, but the other receiver that is most mentioned is none other than walk-on Eric Enard. The 6-3, 200-pound sophomore from West Orange-Stark is poised to earn fall playing time if he continues to impress.

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