Halfway There: Horns Midway Thru Pre-Season Camp

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

He's Baaack: RS-freshman RB Erik Hardeman returned to practice Tuesday and saw limited action during 7-on-7 drills. Hardeman indicated last week that he would return after taking care of unspecified "personal things."

Walking Wounded: The contest between sophomore Tarell Brown and Aaron Ross (hamstring) for starting LCB is still on hold. Both suited up but neither practiced, spending a good deal of time on stationary bikes. Their playing status is "day to day", according to Texas sports information patriarch Bill Little. DE Aurmon Satchell (knee) also suited out but did not participate in contact work. DT Tully Janszen is on crutches with his left leg in a brace. The RS-sophomore twisted a knee at the end of Friday's practice when he came down awkwardly while trying to break up a pass. Janszen's knee is scheduled to be evaluated when the swelling subsides.

Filling In: With Brown and Ross still gimpy, versatile junior Michael Huff alternated at LCB with RS-freshman Brandon Foster. Sophomore Michael Griffin filled in for Huff at SS and came up with an early INT. In what was QB Vince Young's worst throw of the night, Huff basically camped out in the defensive backfield and waited for the floater to come to him.

Inside-Outside: The running game focused on end-arounds during the early going in 7-on-7 drills. The defense later held the plays in check during 11-on-11s (MLB Scott Derry closed quickly and met SE Tyrell Gatewood squarely at the line of scrimmage to snuff out an end-around shortly after the break). RB Cedric Benson compensated by going the distance, reeling off a 60-yard run against a mixed (1s and 2s) D-line in which he was virtually untouched. Whereas most of the running game Saturday was limited to between-tackles carries for Benson, Tuesday saw backup RB Selvin Young get his share of pitches as the offense tested the corners.

In The (Red) Zone: Red zone drills saw Young connect with TE David Thomas over SLB Garnet Smith in the right corner of the north end zone from 15 yards out (Smith had good coverage on the speedy Thomas but Young produced a well-placed ball and you won't see Thomas drop many that hit him in the hands). On the next play, Huff (playing LCB and Griffin at SS) broke up a Young pass at the 5-yard line, drawing the praise of Co-Defensive Coordinator and secondary coach Duane Akina. A few plays later, Young evened the score against Huff when he found Gatewood at the flag for a TD strike.

Getting Faster: Well, maybe freshman FL Jordan Shipley isn't really getting faster but it sure looks that way. The kid possesses amazing closing speed, a fluid stride and runs great routes. (I probably have watched too many cartoons with my kids this summer, but Shipley's rapid footwork reminds me of the Roadrunner.) One play in particular stood out Tuesday: Shipley altered his speed on a go route, adjusting for an underthrown ball and making the grab over Foster down the right sideline in front of an appreciative crowd.

Good Hands People: Head coach Mack Brown did not include Gatewood as among his top four receivers if the season were to start today, but keep an eye out on the RS-freshman. The swift and sure-handed SE may be the most improved wideout during camp. Meanwhile, it's hard to get a reading on SE Limas Sweed (whom Brown said earlier this week was back-up to Brian Carter). Many expect Sweed to have a breakout season as a RS-freshman, but his camp experience may be best described as non-descript. He was, however, on the receiving end of the longest play from scrimmage Tuesday. Working with the first-team O and against primarily the second team defense, Sweed gathered in a Young pass over Foster (who was flagged for holding) who took it 67 yards to the house. The D sent the house at Young, but the first-team line gave him enough time to float a perfect pass to Sweed down the left side.

Coachspeak: Sophomore LG Kasey Studdard is clearly taking snaps with the first team O-line. Although junior Mike Garcia isn't going down without a fight, it appears that Tillman Holloway's old spot is Studdard's to lose. Brown wouldn't be the first to use the media to stoke the embers in battle for playing time, but this one may not be as heated as Brown suggested Tuesday morning (based on the exclusively first-team reps Studdard logged Tuesday night, as he has throughout camp).

In Attendance: Texas Governor (and Texas A&M's most prominent Yell Leader) Rick Perry was a guest at Tuesday night's practice.

Up Next: The Horns are scheduled to practice Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. The session is closed to the public, but fans can take in Thursday's practice at 7:05 p.m.

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