Saturday Practice Notes and Observations

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

And now appearing with the second-team defense: Frank Okam. Over the first four practice sessions, the Lake Highlands DT (along with fellow true freshman Derek Lokey) rotated into the second-team line after vets Stevie Lee and Tully Janszen. But with Janszen sidelined after a non-contact left knee injury suffered late in Friday evening's workout when he jumped up for a pass and came down awkwardly on his leg, Okam joined Lee on the second DL unit Saturday morning. If the season started tomorrow, Rod Wright and Larry Dibbles would start at tackle, with Lee first off the bench, but Okam's impressive early play has him in position to challenge Lee over the next three weeks for the role of top back-up. (Brown on Janszen's injury: "Nobody touched him. Football's just a weird game, and one of the common denominators for winning teams is you better have enough depth that you can overcome losing a player and the other is you've got to be lucky." A timetable for Janszen's return has not been set, Brown added).

It's all about the leverage: Derek Lokey. The true freshman DT has a low center of gravity and thus appears to often get under the pads of the offensive linemen that try to block him. IT photographer Will Gallagher, after working on shots for an October magazine feature on the OLs, said the Denton Ryan product disappears almost underneath the battling linemen in DL vs. OL drills only to squirt out in the offensive backfield. Lokey's work has been somewhat overshadowed by the play of Frank Okam, but the scouting reports on this kid have proven true: strong, high motor, quick. And he's one of the most impressive of the true freshman.

When opportunity knocks: Brandon Foster. The diminutive but blazing fast redshirt freshman is getting a lot of right corner reps in the ones vs. ones 11-on-11 work. Aaron Ross (hamstring) hasn't practiced since Tuesday, setting up a three-man rotation at cornerback with Foster at right corner, Tarell Brown at left, and Cedric Griffin working at both spots. With Ross sidelined, Griffin at right and Brown at left would get the starting nods at corner if the season started tomorrow. But keep an eye on Foster over the next few weeks...

Remove the 'or': Kasey Studdard or Mike Garcia. After spring ball, the official UT depth chart listed Studdard and Garcia as the co-starters at left guard, but the sophomore from Colorado has taken all of the first-team snaps so far while Garcia has been relegated to second-team line work. This isn't a big surprise. Garcia came into spring as the heir apparent to Tillman Holloway after starting the final two games of '03, but Studdard consistently drew the praises of the coaching staff for his March work and appeared to be the No. 1 at the spot by the end of spring. Now, there's no question.

Switching places: Brian Carter and Eric Enard. Carter, who came into camp as the co-No.1 (along with Tony Jeffery) at flanker, has spent the last two practices working at split end, today as the starter. Enard, who owned the start at split end coming into camp, jumped to flanker as the No. 2 behind Jeffery over the last two workouts. The top four wideouts remain the same: Jeffery, Carter, Limas Sweed and Enard, but it appears the coaches are doing a bit of shuffling to determine the most productive positional combinations. The move of Carter, essentially into the group of top two receivers, also bolsters the notion that the coaches remain impressed with his performance (something that first became evident in spring).

Coach in a uniform: Tony Jeffery. The senior wideout appears to be imparting knowledge gained in four years on the Forty Acres to his wet behind the ears position mates. We heard this about Jeffery during summer voluntary workouts, and his actions this week provide more evidence. Today, it was Jordan Shipley who received a lesson from his elder during QB-WR drills. Although Jeffery won't make anyone forget about the dearly departed Big Three, his positive impact this season should be felt, both in games and on the practice field.

Play of the day: Eric Foreman to Neale Tweedie. Near the end of the two's 11-on-11 work, No. 3 center Lyle Sendlein sent his shotgun snap well over the head of QB Foreman. Foreman, though, reacted quickly, scooping up the ball and then calmly locating TE Neale Tweedie open down the middle of the field, dropping the ball into a seam in the coverage where Tweedie made an in-stride, arms fully extended grab. (Tweedie, as he did Friday, shuttled between TE and DE drills as the coaches' search for depth at defensive end.)

Almost at full strength: Aaron Harris. The junior MLB is probably a couple of days away from being full strength, Brown told IT. Harris had his mouth wired shut after he and SLB Eric Hall were attacked earlier this summer by a group in downtown Austin, suffering broken jaws.

De-booted: Chance Mock. The protective boot that had been on the senior QB's right foot was replaced by an ankle brace Saturday. Mock's participation was limited to sideline tosses.

You're not done yet: the entire team. Moments after the players took a knee at what they thought was the end of practice, Brown began yelling "Overtime! Overtime!" The team quickly divided into positional groups for the "Bull-in-the-Ring" drills that DE coach Dick Tomey initiated last spring. Brown said the drill is intended to build toughness.

Celebrity sightings: Darrell Royal and Stonie Clark. The former Texas coach took in the first part of practice as did the former Longhorn DL/poet laureate. Clark has dropped about 40 pounds (laying off the cheeseburgers, he said).

[Bill Frisbie contributed to this report.]


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