Chance Mock and Brian Carter developed a nice connection on one series, with the sophomore QB hitting the sophomore receiver three times for 22 yards and just over throwing him on two other deep attempts. Mock hit four of his seven attempts on the possession, including a nice toss to Artie Ellis near the right sideline for 19 yards. Two of the completions came on rollouts, one to the right and one to the left, but Mock also had a few deep drops into the pocket using play action and pump fakes and he also attempted and completed a three-step quick-hitter. In other words, he displayed a nice mix of QB skills on the possession. . . .
Cedric Benson did not play in the Horns' Monday scrimmage in the stadium but he took a handoff and gained five yards up the middle on the first play of Thursday's action. He also scored one of the O's two TDs on a smooth 18-yarder around left end. . . .
With Brock Edwards still sidelined because of a stress fracture, Will Matthews worked with the second team offense at FB behind first-teamer Matt Trissel. Chad Stevens worked with the twos at TE. . . .
The offense worked an end around and a reverse during the scrimmage. . . .
Adam Doiron got the start at defensive tackle along with Marcus Tubbs. Stevie Lee and Miguel McKay worked with the second D. McKay had his most impressive performance of a so-far impressive spring. On one possession, McKay registered a sack, a QB pressure and a TFL. The OL on that possession consisted of LT Jonathan Scott, LG Terrance Young, C Will Allen, RG Trey Bates and RT Alfio Randall. McKay didn't simply stand out vs. the OL back-ups. Later in the scrimmage, he drove first-team LG Tillman Holloway into the backfield, forcing Chris Simms to scramble and he beat Derrick Dockery on another play, forcing the senior RG to grab McKay by the jersey to keep him from getting to Simms. . . .
With Briles and Cedric Griffin taking their turn as the starters at safety, Huff and Rufus Harris worked with the second team, but Huff and Griffin worked with the first-team at times as nickel backs. Late in the scrimmage, Huff and Griffin also worked at corner. Huff, like McKay, has been an early spring standout and that continued Thursday. The redshirt freshman, in as a nickel back on a third-and-seven play on the first possession of the scrimmage, blanketed Shanahan in a four-wide formation, forcing the first offense to punt after a single first down and just four plays. Later, Huff again working with the first-team defense at nickel, sacked Simms with a blindside blitz. Huff also sacked Mock, picked off Simms once and almost snagged another INT later in the scrimmage. . . .
During its first action, the second-team defense consisted of LDE O.J. McClintock, DTs Lee and McKay, RDE Kaelen Jakes, SLB Braden Johnson, MLB Eric Hall, WLB Aurmon Satchell, CBs Monti Collier and walk-on Chad Davis, SS Griffin and FS Briles. . . .
MLB Hall covered a lot of ground on a swing pass from Matt Nordgren towards the left sideline, chasing down Richard Hightower for a five-yard loss. Nordgren prettiest play of the day came on the very next play. The redshirt freshman QB pumped faked and then laid the ball into the hands of TE Ellis in a seam in the defense over the middle. Ellis evaded the first would-be tackler and rumbled for 49 yards. Unfortunately, Nordgren turned right around and made his worst decision of the scrimmage. He tried to find Ellis deep over the middle but with the junior TE covered, Nordgren looked like he tried to simply throw the ball away but instead tossed it right into the hands of Rufus Harris playing center field, the first of two INTs he would throw on the day. Nordgren's later INT also came on an attempt for Ellis that Lee Jackson grabbed. Simms, back on the field with the first-team O vs. the first-team D after Nordgren's first pick, didn't do much better on the next play, throwing the ball into the chest of RDE Sendlein (who also played some at LDE opposite Chase Pittman at RDE). Sendlein snatched the ball out of the air after it bounced off his chest for the takeaway. The Horns' senior QB almost had a second consecutive attempt picked when his pass for Robin got tipped at the line and just fell short of the waiting hands of Derrick Johnson. Johnson did turn in a sack of Simms coming around RT Lionel Garr earlier in the scrimmage. . . .
Walk-on Richmond McGee sent the opening kickoff of the scrimmage to the five into a stout southerly wind. Later on the day, McGee smacked a with-the-wing effort to five yards deep in the end zone. David Pino hit his only kickoff attempt to just the 12 despite the benefit of the wind at his back. At the halfway mark of spring, the 6-4 McGee has shown the strongest leg and, with consistency, could be the answer to the Horns' kickoff depth woes. . . .
Nathan Vasher and Griffin worked as the first-unit kick returners. Griffin and Anthony Johnson, who also worked as the tailback with the second-team (Benson and Robin worked with the ones), teamed up in deep return later in the scrimmage. . . .
Brian Bradford boomed his first punt attempt high and long (52 yards) with the wind forcing a Vasher fair catch at the 10. Justin Smith followed on the next possession with a slightly lower but very long 58-yarder with the wind. Bradford sent his second attempt, also with the wind, 44 yards. Smith's second punt didn't get off his foot. Walk-on Stevie Stigall, who got a look in the last couple of practices at outside linebacker, and Beau Trahan burst up the middle and blocked the Smith offering, sending the ball careening backwards where Briles scooped it up and took it 20-plus yards for the special teams score. Bradford closed out his punting day with a high 34-yarder into the wind, again forcing a Vasher fair catch, while Smith sent a low, with-the-wind line drive bounding down the field 57 yards to the four. . . .
With another day of strong wind, the field goal kickers again struggled. Incumbent starter Dusty Mangum missed wide right on his first attempt, a 37-yarder into the wind. Mangum pushed his second try, a 32-yarder into the wind, wide left. The sophomore-to-be walk-on nailed his third and fourth attempts, a 45- and then 40-yarder, both with the wind, before missing a with-the-wind 42-yarder wide left. Mangum closed strong by clearing the crossbar with a with-the-wind 52-yarder to finish three-for-six on the day. Pino had his first attempt, a 45-yarder, blocked by Stigall, his second kick block of the day, leaping at the line of scrimmage. Pino bounced back with a booming, with-the-wind 40-yarder that would have been good from 55-plus. The walk-on missed his last two tries, hitting the upright on a 52-yarder and then pushing a 37-yarder wide right. Walk-on Matt McFadden, after missing a with-the-wind 42-yarder earlier in the scrimmage, closed the scrimmage by splitting the uprights on a 37-yarder.