Sunday Practice Notes and Observations

Notes and observations from the Horns' Sunday evening practice at Denius.

Walking wounded: Cedric Benson, Chance Mock, Matt Nordgren. The senior running back suited out but was held out of contact work due to an unspecified elbow injury. Mock still can not plant on his right foot and thus was limited to tossing the ball in between drills. (He can still put a lot of zip on the ball even when holding his right leg in the air as he throws!) Nordgren is slowly working into more action, including leading the second-team O in its goalline work and then later during 11-on-11.

Crutching wounded: Tully Janszen. The sophomore DT attended practice, but as a spectator. His left leg was wrapped from almost thigh to ankle and he wore a large knee brace as he crutched around the practice field. UT is expected to release information on the severity of the injury soon, but it certainly didn't look promising Sunday evening. DE Aurmon Satchell also is out with a knee injury that is going to be evaluated Monday.

When Benson is away...: Selvin Young. The Horns' No. 2 running back turned in two outstanding runs during 11-on-11 work, one where he darted through the middle of the line and then weaved his way through the secondary to the left sideline for a long gainer and another where he squirted through the right side of the line and off to the races down the right sideline.

"Protect your goalline with a passion": Dick Tomey. The Longhorn DE coach shouted that at the Longhorn defenders as they lined up in an early practice goalline drill. The first-team goalline stop unit consisted of Brian Robison, Rodrique Wright, Larry Dibbles, Stevie Lee and Tim Crowder (l to r) up front, plus LBs Aaron Harris, Garnet Smith, Derrick Johnson and Robert Killebrew and DBs Michael Huff and Phillip Geiggar. The first-team goalline offense typically consists of the starting OLs -- LT Jonathan Scott, LG Kasey Studdard, C Jason Glynn, RG Will Allen and RT Justin Blalock -- plus TEs Bo Scaife and Neale Tweedie on the line of scrimmage with David Thomas in the backfield with Will Matthews and Cedric Benson. With Benson sidelined and Tweedie wearing a white defender's jersey and working as a DE, Selvin Young and Steven Hogan subbed Sunday evening. On the first play of the drill, the Horns' goalline D didn't heed Tomey's words as the offense punched it in from the two when Selvin Young (barely) found the end zone behind the right side of the line. But on the second play, Killebrew, D.J. and Geiggar met Selvin with a thud, sending the running back to the grass well short of the end zone. Vince Young, though, scored untouched on the O's next attempt, a misdirection play that fooled the defense. But they wouldn't be fooled again, as D.J. sliced behind the line to stop Vince on the fourth play. I guess you'd call the series a draw.

Applying the pressure: Brian Robison and Rod Wright. In another goalline drill, this time with the offense backed up to its two and trying to come off the goalline, the sophomore DE and the junior DT each got into the backfield, Robison forcing a Vince Young incompletion by applying pressure from the right side and two plays later Wright "sacking" Young on an up the middle rush for a safety. Unlike the goalline drill with the offense going in, which resulted in a draw, the defense definitely had the upper hand as the O tried to come off the goalline, with the two plays above coupled with two stuffs of up-the-gut running plays. Same could have been said for the second D after Frank Okam stood up Ramonce Taylor as he came up the middle and a cast of white shirts stopped Albert Hardy on the next play, but Matt Nordgren, from several yards deep in the end zone, lofted a perfect throw to Steven Hogan near the right sideline for a first down.

Just poppin' in: Rashad Bobino. The true freshman middle linebacker darted through a hole and popped a Texas running back (I believe it was Albert Hardy, but I'm not certain) as the second units went at it in goalline drill. Bobino's defensive teammates mobbed him after the hit. (Sunday night, the second-team goalline stop unit consisted of Kaelen Jakes, Frank Okam, Derek Lokey, Thomas Marshall and Brian Orakpo/Neale Tweedie (l to r) up front, plus LBs Bobino, Scott Derry, Stevie Stigall and Marcus Myers and DBs Cedric Griffin and Matt Melton/Marcus Griffin.)

Make that 'Might play': Drew Kelson. In today's morning report, I left the true freshman safety in the Will play category along with Frank Okam, and while it's still early, a reevaluation may be in order. Kelson is getting few snaps in 11-on-11 work, and it's typically after just about every other safety, including a couple of walk-ons, get on the field. That'll need to change in pretty short order to indicate he's a threat to see the field early in the season. (FYI, SLB Jeremy Campbell appears to be in the same boat, with both Kelson and Campbell coming on the field at about the same time as walk-on LB Luke Tiemann.)

Handoffs? That's a whole 'nother story: Eric Foreman. The sophomore LB-turned-QB looks increasingly comfortable throwing the football (although not necessarily accurately or to the correct spot), but handoffs Sunday night were another matter. Foreman and walk-on Antwan Hobbs had two bad exchanges to end practice. Note, however, that Hobbs is a walk-on generously listed at 5-7 in the UT Media Guide, taking a handoff from the 6-4 Foreman. Perhaps that helps explain the problem.

Best catch, senior division: Tony Jeffery. The Horns' starting flanker, working against Marcus Griffin in WR vs. DB drill, snagged one with his fingertips on a crossing route just before the Vince Young throw grazed the grass.

Best catch, sophomore division: Dustin Miksch. This one should probably be titled best route rather than best catch. The Austin Westwood product turned in and back out, tying in knots Erick Jackson, who couldn't quite recover before Vince Young laid in a near-perfect deep ball that Miksch hauled in during WR vs. DB drill.

Best catch, walk-on division: Eric Enard. The sophomore also got behind Erick Jackson and made a twisting, falling down catch of Vince Young's deep right sideline pass in WR vs. DB drill.

Secondary shift: Michael Huff. The junior, who filled the starting strong safety spot for the first several practices, saw some 11-on-11 work at left corner. With Huff on the edge, Michael Griffin moved into the starting strong safety role. Huff returned to SS later in 11-on-11 when redshirt freshman Brandon Foster took over at left corner.


Horns Digest Top Stories