Thursday: Shipley On Crutches; UT Takes It Indoors

Freshman FL Jordan Shipley was on crutches and wearing a right leg brace Thursday evening after suffering a non-contact knee injury during the final play of UT's morning practice session. Over the first 10 days of preseason camp, Shipley had been one of the standout true freshman performers and appeared likely to be one of the first to shed the 'shirt come September.

The Burnet native underwent tests Thursday afternoon but SID John Bianco said the Parade All-American is "still under evaluation". Football assistant Bill Little said, "He's young. There's still a lot of swelling" and then said he did not know if the injury is season-ending. We could know tomorrow.

Obviously, if this is a torn ACL, a promising career is put on hold for a while. Anyone who has suffered a torn ACL knows that you face months of rehab and that it requires nearly a full year to get back to (or near) 100 percent. Everything we have seen about Shipley is that he is both a rare talent and a class act. Inside Texas and Orangebloods everywhere wish him the best and a full and speedy recovery.

Officials cleared the field after one hour due to lightning, sending fans to the exits and the players into the Bubble for the final half of practice, but not before a highly spirited goalline drill. (FYI, during these drills, sophomore Tarell Brown worked with the first team at left corner while fellow sophomore Aaron Ross worked as the backup at the spot. Redshirt freshman Brandon Foster backed up Cedric Griffin at the right corner spot.)

Operating from the 3-yard line, the defense got things started by shutting down the offense (for two plays, at least). On the first play, MLB Aaron Harris and FS Phillip Geiggar met RB Cedric Benson over left tackle and stopped him cold. Next play, WLB Derrick Johnson and DE Brian Robison stuffed Benson trying the other side of the line. On the third attempt, QB Vince Young took matters in his own hands, sprinting around right end untouched in a misdirection play for the conversion.

After that, Young made a quick read on an isolation play in a two-TE set (Bo Scaife and Neale Tweedie) and threaded the needle to hit David Thomas (lined up in the backfield as an H-back in this goalline set) for the score. Due to the match-ups created with the multiple tight ends and running backs, the play was all about Young making the quick read and then hitting the short-range pass (exemplary of the kind of progress Young has made, in both his reads and in his accuracy).

QB Matt Nordgren directed the next offensive series and this time true freshman Rashad Bobino introduced himself to Selvin Young, stopping the junior second-team running back short of the goal line. Two players later, true freshman RB Ramonce Taylor carried it in on a sweep around right end. And then on the next play, RS-freshman Erik Hardeman carried it in, with relative ease, up the middle for the conversion.

The offense then shifted position, going in the opposite direction, to take snaps while backed up in the shadow of its own end zone. The defense for the most part owned the upper hand (as it should) in this drill, but the best play from this set came from an offensive true freshman: on a deep handoff from Young, going over right end with the outside linebacker crashing in, Ramonce Taylor, (in the blink of an eye and stopping on a dime, cut back, avoided the linebacker and then cut back again to avoid a DB, leaving only the SS to chase him down 15 yards later). In a limited public session due to weather, it was easily the best running play of the night.

TIME CHANGE: Saturday's scrimmage, as part of Fan Appreciation Day, has been moved up to 8:00 a.m. at Royal-Memorial Stadium (sure makes you feel appreciated, doesn't it?). A player autograph session is set for 10:40 a.m. Friday's single practice is closed to the public.


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