Horns Begin Preparations For North Texas

Texas, in its final practice before beginning game week preparations Monday, spent Thursday first at Denius in the heat of a typically toasty August Austin afternoon then for the second half of practice away from the continuous roar of I-35 in the relative quiet of The Bubble as the coaches put in the gameplan for the Horns' Sept. 4 season opener vs. North Texas. And after all that, for the second night in a row, the team spent close to 30 minutes running after the final whistle.

"We'll have a depth chart for you on Monday but today we actually divided up and started scout teams," Mack Brown said. "Today was fully dedicated to North Texas, so it will give (the players) a two or three day period to think about the things that we gave them in scouting report and on the field to prepare for next week."

Although the head coach said the official depth chart won't be released (to the media or to the team) till early next week, when asked, he said the personnel that will be used in the game is largely set. Personnel decisions over the weekend and into early next week will mostly be about the true freshman and whether they can help the team before the mid-way point in the season (generally the cutoff Brown sets for a true freshman to strip the 'shirt), and whether they want to.

"... we wanted to watch some more film and make sure we know what we're doing especially with young guys that may redshirt but that might play after Arkansas. It's three weeks from now," Brown said. "They might play by midseason, so that's something that we need to talk to them about. 'How much do you want to push it to play this year. Would you rather redshirt if we can (redshirt you)? 'Go home and talk to your folks and come back Monday and tell us what you think.' So we're in the process of some of those conversations."

Brown also reviewed a comment from Wednesday night about the lack of emotion displayed by the younger players in the scrimmage at DKR. "The thing that I said that I thought was true was that some of the younger guys didn't play with the emotion that we wanted but in looking at (the tape) they played really hard and played well... They worked really hard, they busted their tail and they got after each other so the scrimmage was great " Brown said that overall, this is just a "quiet team" before ticking off the names of just about every offensive starter with the qualifier '(Player name) doesn't speak.'

"It's not going to be a rah-rah bunch," said Brown, before adding, ".... I'm really not concerned about it. I think more than anything else I wanted them to have more fun than they had. But the scrimmage was good. The two scrimmages we've had this year were better than the two we had last year at the same time."

The head coach said that he thought the defense "chased the ball better last night than we did last Saturday... We're tackling better and I think that's probably because we're doing some different drills but I think the full speed scrimmages have helped us tackle better. It's hard to tackle guys that are great backs -- and we've got three really good backs -- unless you tackle them full speed so we saw improvement in that area last night." As for the offense, the tape revealed that "the receivers played well and that was important. The offensive line was back on track the way we expect them to be and I thought Erik Hardeman played really, really well. There was not a guy with the offensive group we're planing on playing a lot that didn't play well last night."

Although the team will be free through Sunday evening after lifting Friday, the players won't be without a weekend assignment or two. Along with a workout that the coaches ask the players to do on their own, team members must also watch the Virginia Tech-USC game and be prepared to answer four or five questions about aspects of the game that relate to their position when the team gets back together on Sunday night. "... what we've asked them to do is 'Find your position on both sides of the ball and study it closely and check your reads, check and see why the game was won or lost.' The (coaches) each came up with questions that they thought would make the guys study the game and not just watch it so they could just come back and say, 'Ah, it was a good game. Forty-five looked good.'"

Notes: Larry Dibbles and Aaron Harris reportedly returned to practice after missing time earlier this week.

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