Brown: Fewer Superstars, Better Depth

Pick one word to describe this year's spring practice, and "attitude" may be it. But a close second would probably be "depth".

While new assistants Greg Robinson, Dick Tomey and Bobby Kennedy have certainly infused UT's 10 practice sessions with a dose of needed 'tude, the operative word from head coach Mack Brown following Thursday's workout was depth.

"Best (depth) we've had," Brown said. "I don't question that. We're building that better depth and we probably don't have as many superstars. Last year we had a bunch of superstars and a bunch of young guys, and this year we've got a lot of really good football players most of whom are freshman, sophomores and juniors again. There are very few seniors that'll be playing but they're working harder to bridge that gap between where they are and where they need to be and we've been on them, we've worked them really hard."

The Horns have five spring practices remaining -- Friday and next Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday's (or, hopefully, Sunday's) Spring Game -- and the Texas head coach said the most important thing over those last five days is, you guessed it, finding that depth among the second- and third-teamers that will allow the '04 version of the Horns to truly (and effectively) go two-deep.

"Probably the most important thing in the last five days is figuring out who those second and third team guys are that are going to play and be a factor in the fall and we've tried to give everybody hope and let everybody start over and the morale has been super," Brown said. "They're working so hard, and right now everybody has a chance to play. There's nobody that doesn't have some chance to get on the field in some way next year and that's pretty good. So the hardest decision we have in the next five days and then with the freshmen coming in through two-a-days is trying to figure out who in that next group and the freshmen need to exchange spots. That'll be the toughest evaluation decision we'll have in the fall."

Brown addressed some of the guys currently on campus that have impressed since Spring Break:

*"Tony Hills keeps improving at tackle, so that's been a good experience for us and we're going to leave him there right now and let him get settled there and he'll have a big scrimmage tomorrow."

*"Neale Tweedie's played enough tight end, he does well there, he made a good catch again today, and we didn't play him much there last year except for short yardage but we think he can play there so until he gets bigger we're going to keep him there."

*"We've said Steven Hogan's made progress."

*"Kasey Studdard's made a lot of progress. He's probably made the most progress of any of the linemen who haven't played very much yet."

*"Receivers still haven't played enough to jump out. They've got some big shoes to fill and we want to see them more with crowds around before we jump out there."

*"Vince (Young) has made a big jump in the passing game."

*"Will Matthews is having a great spring."

*"Defensively, Aaron Harris and Scott Derry are playing good inside."

*"We moved Garnet (Smith) outside to SAM today. With the defense, we're still testing some things and wanting Dick and Greg's input, I've got my opinions and they got theirs and after spring we'll figure out, and that's why we played (Garnet) at both last spring, then he got hurt, so we're going to give him the last six practices outside and see where that fits."

*"We've worked Tony Jeffery a little bit, we're working Eric Foreman a little bit at quarterback so we don't get in a bind at back-up quarterback."

*"Chase Pittman has come back and doing pretty well. He's making a move right now at power end."

*"Tully Janszen is doing some really good things the last three days. He came back lighter after spring break. I'll watch film tonight but I thought he made some plays today that were impressive."

*"Michael Griffin shows up a lot. We've got some good players in that secondary and we're going to have to make some decisions back there because there are guys that are making good plays."

*"(Robert) Killebrew is doing some good things behind Derrick Johnson."

"We're going to play two deep," Brown added, "and we got better at it last year, we talked about it for six years and we finally did it half the time for one, and we'd like to go into the game next year and see if we can possibly line up and play two deep at every position and play 'em and we feel like that'll help our team more than anything."

After taking the first seven, pre-Spring Break practices on evaluating personnel and focusing on attitude, fundamentals and a simple, base defense, "Greg and Duane have tied the front and the secondary together and how we want to do it, and then we've progressed into more disguise, more zone blitz, picking up a little bit more blitz today, that was what today was a lot of, red zone blitzes and pass offense and run offense into it, and we'll continue to work on some of those schemes to tie things together in the next three or four days." Texas will next practice Friday, spending half of practice time on drill work and the final half on scrimmaging.

Horns Digest Top Stories