Brown: 'Today was our best practice'

The Horns held their next-to-last pre-Spring Break practice at Denius on Wednesday, a workout <B>Mack Brown</B> called the team's best of spring so far.

". . . the guys that are out here are getting much better every day," the head coach said Wednesday. "We were a little frustrated early. We were a little high (in our pads) and a little soft. (We have a) lot of young guys but I thought today was our best practice. I was really pleased. I thought the defense stepped it back up. We've really got some inexperienced guys at linebacker and in the secondary and those guys have to step up and I thought they were more aggressive today."

Brown also previewed what the coaches hope to accomplish in Thursday's DKR passing game scrimmage. The offense, he said, will work on screens, draws, reverses, the one-back option and shovel passes and will work against the all-out blitz, the 3-4 and all of the other different looks the defense will throw at 'em. "We'd like to put more pressure in pass protection on our linemen and more pressure on our backs in (blitz) pick ups and (more pressure on) our quarterbacks to complete the ball," Brown said of the areas the coaches will focus on Thursday. From a defensive perspective, he added, "We'd like to see some guys have to cover." Also important according to Brown is getting more pressure on the QB out of the front four, particularly when the defense is playing zone behind them.

Wednesday practice notes: The coaches continue to shuffle the starting line-up almost daily at safety, alternating all four redshirt DBs at the two safety spots in the starting secondary. Wednesday, FS Rufus Harris and SS Michael Huff worked with the first team while FS Kendal Briles and SS Cedric Griffin joined the twos. Griffin picked off a deflected Matt Nordgren ball to end Wednesday's workout. . . . After getting some fullback snaps Tuesday, Eric Hall returned to middle linebacker, working with the second team defense and pushing Aurmon Satchell back out to the weakside spot. . . . Anthony Johnson, who started the spring wearing the white No. 23 of a defender, switched to an orange No. 23 for today's practice. After working at both corner and tailback earlier in the week, Johnson only saw action as a running back Wednesday. . . . The extremely windy weather conditions prevalent over the last two weeks in Austin continued Wednesday with a 20-plus mph wind blowing from the south and into the faces of the Longhorn punters and field goal kickers in 11-on-11 work. Brian Bradford hit three relatively short (35, 34 and 34 yards) but high hang-time punts into the teeth of the breeze but he also sent one low and 24 yards. The guys trying to split the uprights didn't fare much better. Dusty Mangum muscled through a 34-yarder and a line-drive 38-yarder before sending a 39-yard attempt into the jet stream, where the wind caught it and held it up about and sent it to the grass about 10 yards short of the crossbar. David Pino missed his first 38-yarder short but nailed his next attempt from the same distance. . . . Asked about the benefits of adding Mac McWhorter to the coaching staff, Brown said: "The best thing it does is it gives us two offensive line coaches to work both sides. So as important as it is with as many young people as we have and as much as we've tried to improve our running game, it puts a true emphasis on the running game and Mac's coached in big games before. He's been in 10 bowl games, he's been the head coach in a bowl game, he's been a head coach at a small college so he brings a lot of experience. He brings confidence because he was an all-SEC player at Georgia and he's coached at some great places. He's been in the Alabama-Auburn game and the Clemson-South Carolina game and the Georgia-Florida game and those are the type of games you have to win here so I think he walks into our offensive staff with a lot of experience and brings in a lot of confidence." I asked Brown if McWhorter's roots in the southeast would lead Texas to focus more recruiting attention on that talent-rich region of the country. "We're still going to recruit Texas," he said. "We may recruit a guy or two out of Georgia or Alabama because of (McWhorter's) background but that's what we've been doing on the national scene. He'll probably go into Houston and everybody talks about roots but Everett Withers and Tim Brewster had never been to the state of Texas and they did a great job in Houston and last year Darryl Drake did a great job so Mac and Darryl will do a great job in Houston." . . . Brown, who praised the play of redshirt freshmen Will Winston and Jonathan Scott earlier this week, did so again Wednesday and added Will Allen's name to the list: "Will Allen has made as easy a transition to center as we could have expected because he hasn't played there very much," the coach said. "He had a couple of snap problems the first day but he's improved a lot and he's much better." Brown also said, "Jason Glynn's having a good spring (and) Lionel Garr is doing better than since he's been here." . . . After six spring practices and heading into Thursday's 4 p.m. passing game scrimmage, the last workout before the Horns take 10 days off for Spring Break, here is IT's unofficial depth chart projection (based on the results of the first two weeks of spring practice):

QB: Chris Simms, Chance Mock, Matt Nordgren, Beau Trahan

RB: Cedric Benson, Brett Robin, Anthony Johnson

FB: Matt Trissel, Chad Stevens, Brock Edwards, Will Matthews, Eric Hall

LT: Robbie Doane, Jonathan Scott, Roman Reeves

LG: Tillman Holloway, Beau Baker, Terrance Young

C: Jason Glynn, Will Allen, Trey Bates

RG: Derrick Dockery, Trey Bates, Mike Garcia

RT: Lionel Garr, Alfio Randall/William Winston

TE: Bo Scaife, Artie Ellis, Chad Stevens

FL: B.J. Johnson, Tony Jeffery, Kyle Shanahan

SE: Sloan Thomas, Brian Carter

DT: Marcus Tubbs, Adam Doiron, Stevie Lee, Miguel McKay, Kaelen Jakes

LDE: Cory Redding, O.J. McClintock, Kaelen Jakes

RDE: Austin Sendlein, Kaelen Jakes, Chase Pittman

SLB: Lee Jackson, Braden Johnson

MLB: Reed Boyd, Eric Hall/Aurmon Satchell

WLB: Derrick Johnson, Aurmon Satchell, Rashad Thomas, Lance McFarland

LCB: Nathan Vasher, Monti Collier

RCB: Roderick Babers, Anthony Johnson, Chad Davis (walk-on)

SS: Cedric Griffin/Michael Huff

FS: Kendal Briles/Rufus Harris

P: Brian Bradford, Justin Smith

K (field goals): Dusty Mangum (walk-on), David Pino (walk-on), Matt McFadden (walk-on)

K (kickoffs): Richmond McGee (walk-on), Dan Smith (walk-on), James Baker (walk-on)

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