Return to spring practice brings OL change

The Horns' 10-day absence from the practice field for Spring Break gave the Texas coaches time to review and evaluate the first seven spring workouts. The team's return to the practice field Monday evidenced one big change based on that first half assessment.

Redshirt freshman Jonathan Scott, who worked at second-team left tackle over the first two weeks of spring, moved into the starting role at right tackle for UT's spring practice No. 8. The move and promotion of Scott caused a bit of shuffling on the O-line, with former right tackle starter sophomore Lionel Garr working with the second unit at right guard, Garr's former right tackle back-up senior Alfio Randall flipping back to his '01 spot of second-team left tackle, and redshirt freshman William Winston moving up into sole possession of the back-up right tackle spot.

Greg Davis told IT during the first two weeks of spring that the coaches planned to use spring to, among other things, find the top five guys on the OL, and at the mid-way point of March workouts, that top five apparently includes Scott along with definite starters LT Robbie Doane, LG Tillman Holloway, C Jason Glynn and RG Derrick Dockery. Although Scott now occupies one of those spots, Mack Brown said the move is still really an audition. "Jason Glynn is playing well at center and that was an area of concern (but) we've got to find the right tackle we're looking for," he said.

The head coach pointed to several other players that stood out over the early workouts. "Bo Scaife's done a good job," Brown said. "He's doing a better job as a blocker. Artie Ellis is starting to play more as a tight end and he's bringing some things to us right now so we're pleased with him. I think Sloan (Thomas) has had his best spring by far. . . . Defensively, the young secondary guys look really good so we're excited about them and the move of Nathan (Vasher) to corner has been a real positive. He and Rod (Babers) are playing like Quentin (Jammer) and Rod did last year so we feel good about that, we've just got to get the safety spots filled in. Lee Jackson has come back and thank goodness he redshirted and gives us some experience and leadership at the SAM backer because that's a hard spot to play. You've got to be athletic and tough and we're pleased with him right now."

Going forward, Brown said several areas will remain a focus, particularly "getting the pads down low, tackling better on defense and trying to make sure we figure out who the two deep guys are." That last part may mean increased reps for guys like Austin Sendlein and Kaelen Jakes at DE, Anthony Johnson at tailback, Miguel McKay at DT and Justin Smith at punter. The coach also said finding linebacker depth will be a priority over the next two weeks.

" I was pleased with today," Brown said. " I was really surprised. I thought today would be sloppy but it really wasn't. I felt like the guys came back with great attitude and we told them we've started over in spring practice with eight days. Now we're down to seven, so a lot of guys have a lot of things that need to get answered."

Practice notes: Brown said Chance Mock has separated from Matt Nordgren at the second-team QB spot. "We've just gotta get Chance enough experience early in the fall so he can go in and play if something happens to Chris (Simms)," he said. "What we've got to do -- everybody's talked about having Chris and Major (Applewhite) being the focus of so much conversation and being a negative when in reality it was a real positive because we had two of the best quarterbacks in the country -- so now we've got a great quarterback and Chance coming on, but he's inexperienced, so we'll try to the best of our ability to get Chance some work early in the game early in the season like we did with Chris two seasons ago." . . . Chase Pittman, who spent the first two weeks of spring at DE, moved to tight end Monday. "Chase is going to look at tight end for a couple of days and he's going to be behind and won't get a lot of work but he's trying to look to see where he needs to fit in the fall," Brown said. Anthony Johnson and Brian Carter, though, will stay at tailback and wideout, respectively, for the remainder of spring rather than working in the secondary. Carter may get some drill work with the corners, according to Brown, but the numbers situation at wide receiver will keep the sophomore exclusively on the offensive side of the ball in 11-on-11 work. . . . Add B.J. Johnson to the temporarily disabled list. The junior wideout suffered a sprained toe over the break and sported a red jersey Monday. Brown said he hopes to have B.J. back on the field for Thursday's scrimmage. . . . WR Tony Jeffery sprained his foot during practice and missed the end of the Monday workout. . . . Brock Edwards returned to practice after missing most of the last four pre-Spring Break workouts with a slightly sprained ankle. Edwards alternated with Will Matthews at the back-up fullback spot. . . . The field goal kickers turned in their most consistent effort of the spring to date, nailing four of five field goal attempts during 11-on-11 work. Dusty Mangum made all three of his attempts, from 37 twice and 42, into a strong (although not gale-force like in several earlier practices) south wind. Matt McFadden split the uprights from 32 on his lone attempt and David Pino came up just short on a 44-yarder. . . . In scrimmage work, Justin Smith got three punts to starter Brian Bradford's one. Smith sent a low, end-over-end offering towards Vasher on his first attempt before booming consecutive 45-yarders, the second one with stellar hang-time. . . . Babers picked off Mock in 11-on-11 work, but don't blame Chance. The sophomore QB zipped the ball downfield slightly high but well within reach of Richard Hightower. The 5-8 walk-on wideout, though, allowed the ball to bounce off his hands and into Babers'. . . . All three RBs -- Cedric Benson, Brett Robin and Anthony Johnson -- turned in some nice runs. Benson looked to be at his shifty best, cutting and darting through traffic. Johnson made a nice move himself on an up-the-middle run, faking Kendal Briles to the ground as he took off on a long scamper. He also displayed a bit of tough running at other times, bouncing off would be tacklers. Perhaps that's why Brown said post-practice that one area that he'd like to see improvement in over the next two weeks is tackling. . . . The Horns will practice in pads tomorrow and Thursday with a shorts workout scheduled for Wednesday. . . . Brown weighed in on the success of the UT hoops teams, saying, "Every time the University of Texas wins in something, it is a positive. The whole program is in such great shape right now. It's such a positive time to be at Texas." Amen.

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