Football Spring Training In Final Stretch

Spring training entered its final week at the Forty Acres on Monday, a day where coaches focused on full-speed kicking drills and head coach <B>Mack Brown </B>responded publicly for the first time to criticism that a <I>Houston Chronicle </I>reporter leveled at certain Longhorn seniors for their alleged "attitude" during last Wednesday's Pro Timing Day in Austin.

Brown made it clear that he does not take seriously any news media account in which "there is not a quote attributed to any person." According to the account, three NFL personnel in attendance Wednesday reportedly were "stunned" at the attitude some of the Longhorns showed. Chronicle reporter Jim McClain listed an unnamed source as saying, "They spent too much time complaining. One wouldn't broad jump for us. One wouldn't do the vertical (jump). Except for Roy Williams, they acted like they were doing us a favor. Williams was a pleasure to be around."

The NFL source further speculated that the "attitude" contributed to Texas' recent losing streak to Oklahoma: "No wonder Texas loses to Oklahoma. When we went to Oklahoma, those kids were fired up to see us. They were ready to work out. They did every drill we asked them to do and asked if we wanted more. That's the kind of attitude you expect to see when a kid's future as an NFL player's at stake. You expect them to be excited and cooperative. You'd think those other Texas players would have followed Roy Williams' lead."

This was Brown's response: "There were about 105 NFL coaches and personnel at Timing Day and they never said anything but positives about our players." He then reiterated, "Unless I see a name with those quotes, I don't respond to the story."

The story stated that FL B.J. Johnson ran in the 4.7s and, as such, his stock plummeted.

"B.J. had a pull," Brown said. "If I had a pull, I wouldn't have run."

As it is, Texas now has just two more practices (Tuesday, Thursday) prior to the annual Spring Jamboree, with pre-game activities slated for 7 p.m. Saturday at DKR. This year's affair will attempt to approximate a game day atmosphere by including the Longhorn Band plus more snaps pitting the first team offense and the first team defense. It will also feature a new scoring system that will award points for outstanding defensive play. The defense, for example, will tally seven points if it forces a turnover or if it holds the offense on downs. The defense will also be spotted for points for limiting the offense to a field goal.

For the first time this season, Brown said the defense "had the upper hand" in last Friday's scrimmage at Denius Field. Previously, Brown commented that "offense was ahead of the defense" primarily because the D was focusing on fundamentals while the offense continued to "tweak" its playbook.

"The guys are playing really hard and they're playing with a lot of spirit," Brown said. "We're hitting harder and we're tackling better. We're hitting our quarterbacks more this spring and they're hanging on to the ball."

Reducing turnovers at quarterback was a priority this spring as was forcing more turnovers on defense. Brown mentioned that the offensive playbook is getting "thinner", and that this type of scaling back has yielded positive results.

"We have great expectations for the offense," Brown said. "They've done well against our new defensive sets, disguises and blitzes."

Brown again addressed the issue of SLB Eric Foreman taking snaps at back-up QB alongside FL Tony Jeffery.

"It's something he wanted to look at," Brown said of Foreman, "and we thought we'd look at it with him."

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