Horns fight the elements in second practice

Following Monday's very spring-like first day of spring practice, the weather turned decidedly Arctic on Tuesday in Austin, with a bitter, strong north wind wreaking havoc on just about every pass, punt and kick during the Horns' two-and-a-half hour practice session at Denius.

"We needed to come out and fight the elements some because we're gonna play up north in two years hopefully in the Big 12 Championship Game and we go north to Nebraska and some other schools this year," Mack Brown said of Tuesday's blustery conditions, "so it's gonna be cold and windy some and I thought the guys focused really well today."

After watching the wind knock down his first deep throw, Chris Simms turned to the other QBs and shrugged his shoulders. Simms, Chance Mock and Matt Nordgren all eventually seemed to adjust, but with gusts pushing 40 mph, pinpoint accuracy with or against the wind proved to be a challenge all afternoon.

Football practice notes: Simms looked sharp moving the team on two late-practice, with-the-wind drives near the end of the workout, connecting on all six pass attempts, including four to TE Bo Scaife. The senior QB also placed a perfect touch pass over defender CB Anthony Johnson into the hands of Sloan Thomas near the left sideline for a 20-plus-yard gainer. . . . With the move to corner just two days old, Johnson, who displayed some fancy footwork as a successful high school tailback, is still working on the different footwork skill set of a defensive back. . . . Junior DT Marcus Tubbs, who has an ill family member, did not practice again today but he is expected to be back Friday. With Tubbs gone, Stevie Lee and Adam Doiron took the first-team tackle snaps. Miguel McKay is the only other scholarship player who worked with DT coach Mike Tolleson during positional drills. . . . K Matt McFadden, who left the team last summer, has returned as a walk-on and got a couple of late practice field goal attempts. . . . Add a new name to the kick-off candidate list: Richmond McGee joins fellow walk-ons returners Dan Smith and James Baker. . . . Brian Bradford and Justin Smith had the unenviable task of punting into the teeth of the wind during the special teams session at the beginning of practice. Both received some individual tutoring from the head coach on driving the ball into the wind rather than banging it high into the jet stream. Although both punters ripped off some long ones, Bradford remains the more consistent of the two. . . . Nathan Vasher and Brian Carter worked in punt return early in practice. The more-experienced Vasher skillfully handled the hard to judge wind while Carter struggled to get underneath one with-the-wind blast and couldn't make the clean catch, allowing gunners Rod Babers and Michael Ungar to pounce on the loose ball. . . . Nordgren, working with the second-team offense in one-minute, 11-on-11 work, tossed his second INT in as many practices on an over the middle toss that was tipped and then picked by free safety Rufus Harris. . . . Detroit Lion Shaun Rogers braved the cold to check out spring practice No. 2. . . . "I felt like we had a good day's practice," Brown said Tuesday. "We talked about not practicing this morning early (because of threat of bad weather) and we felt like there were two or three reasons to practice. No. 1, it was a year from Cole Pittman's death and we wanted to send a message to the guys that this was a practice in honor of him as much as anything else, especially with Chase on this team. We had about a 30 minute ceremony before practice with all the guys." Brown added that he wanted the team to face the unpleasant, sub-freezing wind chill conditions. "We also wanted to understand that last year we came out in a rainstorm for one spring practice and we don't want to back away from weather because the Big 12 is gonna have (bad) weather days. We go to Lubbock next year -- it may be bad out in Lubbock -- so there's going to be some elements we've gotta fight and we need to understand that and we need to learn from it but their attitude's been really good for two days." . . . The team will next practice Friday afternoon and will scrimmage Saturday afternoon at 1:30 in DKR.

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