Day 4: Horns Shoring Up Depth At DE, RB

TE <B>Neale Tweedie</B> trained as a backup DE while true freshman <B>Ramonce Taylor</B>, following his switch form DB to RB, <B> </B>got quality snaps during 11-on-11 drills Friday as Texas looks to add depth at some dangerously thin spots. It was the last day in shells for the Horns who strap on pads Saturday. That is when coaches can finally begin to make depth chart decisions, head coach <B>Mack Brown </B>said.

Texas was hit hard earlier this week as three of the six athletes not reporting to camp were ends. Sophomore LDE Tim Crowder has had a solid first week while coaches have praised RDE Brian Robison for his work ethic and athleticism. Beyond those two, the Horns are dangerously thin at the one spot that cannot sustain another loss in the starting lineup. That's why coaches are now giving Tweedie, a versatile RS sophomore who has trained at TE and OLT, a look at DE.

Tweedie was a two-year starter, and a first-team all-area pick, on both the O-Line and D-Line while at Allen.

"He's a guy that's a possibility to look at if we feel like there's a need that he can fit," Brown said. "He's practiced about 30 minutes on defense and the rest of it on offense. He played defense in high school and we're seeing some things we like. But it's really hard to evaluate a young one until you get in pads. We'll know a little bit more about that (Saturday)."

Brown is also shoring up depth at RB since third-teamer Erik Hardeman did not report Monday. (Hardeman issued a statement citing a need to take care of "a few personal things" before promising to "be back with the team by next week.") While I hate that Hardeman is MIA, I am definitely glad that Taylor is back at RB. The Texas 5A first-team all-stater entered the fall at DB, a spot where Texas is (relatively speaking) loaded.

During 11-on-11 drills against the first team defense, Taylor got the handoff from QB Vince Young on the ninth and 11th plays of the drill. During the latter, Taylor turned the corner at right end to pick up seven or eight yards. Again, the team was just in shells but the lanky Taylor (5-11, 190) showed the speed that made many consider him to be the second best RB in Texas last year. Taylor rushed for 3,899 yards and 52 TDs on 480 totes (that's 8.1 ypc, friends) during his final two prep seasons. He's also being looked at (along with Jordan Shipley) as the backup PR behind starter Selvin Young.

"He showed us what we already knew: he's fast and he can catch," Brown said. "Until he gets in pads, it's harder to evaluate a back. Can he pass-protect? Is he ready to take the hits? Some of that may be answered tomorrow and some of it may take a week just to see how much they progress from tomorrow. There will be some wide eyes tomorrow."

Texas is slated to practice 9:30 a.m., Saturday, at Denius Field. The session is open to the public.

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