Depth Chart Decisions Mark Final Days Of Spring

Just a handful of practice days remain during Longhorn spring drills, and so the focus now shifts to depth chart decisions that will carry the Texas football program into the 2005 season.

"In the last eight days you're getting your football team ready to go into two-a-days and play," head coach Mack Brown said Tuesday. "The intensity is not different but the things that you're asking of (players) are."

The emphasis during the first seven days of spring ball was on teaching fundamentals and, frankly, allowing three new coaches to meet and perform preliminary evaluations of returning talent. Now, players are held to a higher level of accountability as younger athletes compete for playing time. This included reinstating Tuesday a method of accountability that former Co-Defensive Coordinator Greg Robinson introduced last season: NOS (Not Our Standard) Drills.

"If a guy doesn't do well on the play, he'll be punished for it after practice," Brown said. "You don't have that during the first seven days because you're trying to show them what that means. The first seven days, we were teaching and being more patient. The last eight, we're going into these practices with the same accountability that they'll have when they come into two-a-days. We think we're further ahead right now than we were at this time last year because of the way that we practiced last spring and, because the attitude coming out of the Rose Bowl, they have more confidence so we can demand more of them."

RB Ramonce Taylor saw limited action Tuesday after sitting out Monday's session with a sprained ankle. It allowed RS-freshman Chris Ogbonnaya to get some additional snaps and raise some eyebrows.

"Obgonnaya did a good job today," Brown said. "He made a couple of long runs. Since Chris was a quarterback in high school and never played running back, that's a very unusual transition for him. He's learning how to carry the pads better. He's learning how to hold on to the ball. We're excited about watching him."

RT has shown plenty of lightning-in-a-bottle explosiveness but Brown is still reluctant to pronounce the sophomore as his featured RB for next season.

"He's got to learn to block better," Brown said. "I think we still have some questions marks and we still have to wait. He can be but we're just not there yet."

WLB Eric Hall missed practice (injured foot) while starting MLB Aaron Harris had an afternoon class. It meant that RS-freshman MLB Rashad Bobino and sophomore WLB Robert Killebrew joined sophomore SLB Eric Foreman with the first team defense.

"It looked like they did really well," Brown observed.

Senior Michael Huff has logged most of his snaps at LCB this week rather than at SS where he has started for three years. Junior LCB Tarell Brown's knee injury has kept him out of practice, so Huff's versatility allows coaches the luxury of getting the four best DBs on the field. FS Michael Griffin has had a solid spring while future star Drew Kelson has logged snaps at both FS and SS.

Both Huff and starting RCB Cedric Griffin will probably see a limited role during the final stretch of spring drills to force untested DBs to step up, Brown added.

"We have enough depth in the secondary right now that we don't need to see Cedric and Michael a lot. Those guys have played a lot. We need Michael Griffin to play more. We need Drew Kelson to play; we need (RCB) Brandon Foster to play. The other guys have been around long enough. We're getting them some (snaps) but they won't get very much."

Brown described Tuesday's practice as "very physical."

"We hit most of the practice. The guys really got after each other. We had a good scrimmage at the end."

The offense was guilty of too many turnovers, Brown said, but "was really trying and competing. The defense really got after them."

NFL Pro Timing Day is set for Wednesday at the Forty Acres. The Horns will resume practice Thursday at Denius Fields and then scrimmage Saturday starting at 9:15

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