Wednesday Scrimmage Notes and Observations

Notes and observations from the Horns' Wednesday scrimmage at DKR.

First things first: At the start of the scrimmage, there didn't appear to be any major changes in the line-up from the projected depth chart we released earlier this week, although Mack Brown made it clear that the scrimmage would basically be an extended audition for players to move up, or at least earn a longer look over the next 10 days before the season opener. Without the benefit of film study, did I see any back-up stand out for a promotion? No. The best performance on the offensive side of the ball came at a position with a rock solid two-deep: running back. Erik Hardeman has picked up right where he left off in spring when he was one of that camp's top performers. I had him (unofficially) with six carries for 61 yards (typically running behind a mix of first- and second-team linemen), including a 21-yarder around left edge (helped by a nice downfield block by Tony Jeffery) and a 20-yarder through a huge hole in the right side of the second-team D.

Not a good start: To keep his tenuous hold on the start at left corner, Tarell Brown probably needs to do a tad bit better with the fundamentals of tackling, a Greg Robinson focus, than he did on the scrimmage's first play when he couldn't bring down Ramonce Taylor one-on-one in the right flat.

Bad decision: Up back Will Matthews dove for and missed a pooch kickoff from David Pino that landed at the 32, allowing the kick team to recover the loose ball. (It wouldn't have mattered; second-team kick coverage team member Rashad Bobino was offsides on the kick.)

Player/coach: Chance Mock may not be participating in scrimmage work, but he's not just sitting on the sideline. Wednesday afternoon, the senior QB, as he did Saturday, helped mentored Eric Foreman, at one point Wednesday running into the huddle and helping the LB-turned-QB with the call.

In the box: Co-defensive coordinator Greg Robinson coached from the sideline while DE coach Dick Tomey worked from the box. (Former DC Carl Reese coached from the box.) As usual, OC Greg Davis called the offensive action from the box (with grad assistant Major Applewhite at his side).

Through the uprights: The field goal kickers had a perfect evening, with Dusty Mangum nailing his two attempts and David Pino his lone attempt (all from 37 out with the wind) while Richmond McGee closed out the scrimmage and the Horns' open practice schedule with a 55-yarder (also with the wind).

Against the wind: Starting punter Richmond McGee didn't have quite the same success punting that he eventually had on the long field goal try. McGee hit his first punt attempt low and just 21 yards. His next attempt went 33 yards with much better hang time. Greg Johnson, though, boomed one high and 46 yards before turning in a 38-yard beauty on an angle kick to the right pylon that Cedric Griffin covered at the one.

Free ride: McGee, Mangum and back-up SLB Stevie Stigall became the Horns newest scholarship athletes Wednesday. "Not once have Richmond McGee, Stevie Stigall or Dusty Mangum come into my office and said, 'What about scholarships?'," Brown said. "I met with them last spring and said I may be able to give them scholarships and they said, 'Coach, I don't care. We're part of the team. This is fun for us. It's been a wonderful experience, so don't worry about it.' That was even more motivation for me to try to help them.")

Coming out: Matt Nordgren, after a shaky start on his unit's first two possessions, settled down and completed several passes, including a 24-yard catch-and run to Peter Ullman in a left side seam on first-and-10 from the one (after Johnson's great coffin corner punt).

Scary: WR Jordan Shipley, who is out for the year after an ACL injury, walked without crutches Wednesday, but two more wide receivers suffered dings during a four play span of the scrimmage, first Limas Sweed after going down hard on a deep route when walk-on DB Le'von Griffin interfered, and then Eric Enard after coming down hard on his left shoulder on a spectacular diving snag of a Vince Young toss near the left edge of the end zone (also on Griffin). Sweed didn't stay down for long and looked OK as he headed back to the huddle and Enard's injury didn't look serious but he was wearing an ice pack as he left the field with the team. LDT Rodrique Wright left the scrimmage after hurting an elbow but said afterward it was just "a bump."

Missing action: Backup Scott Derry worked with the first team in place of starting MLB Aaron Harris who was not present during the scrimmage. (Sports information directors were checking with trainers on Harris's status long after players exited the field. The buzz among media was that Harris got banged up Tuesday but the SID said he would issue a release if there was anything seriously wrong with Harris.) RB Selvin Young is in Houston "for a couple of days to be with an ill family member," Brown said. DT Larry Dibbles did not practice due to illness (he also missed Monday's workouts).

[Note: Bill Frisbie contributed to this report.]


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