Two-A-Days Underway

Sunday may be a day of rest for many, but not for the Longhorn football team as it prepares for the Sept. 3 season opener vs. Louisiana-Lafayette. Mack Brown's guys practiced at the crack of dawn Sunday morning and will return to Denius this evening, completing the first of four sets of two-a-days scheduled for the next nine days.

The Texas head coach said there will be several areas of focus during this most-intense period of August practice.

"We've got to shore up the receivers, the tailbacks and the linebackers and kind of separate them," Brown said Sunday. The coach added that he feels like the receivers are "better" but that "we still don't know who the guys are yet." (Who's competing and where? During the team's last open practice on Friday afternoon, the offense worked on three-wide sets with Limas Sweed backed by Myron Hardy at split end, Billy Pittman, Brian Carter and Quan Cosby in the slot and Tyrell Gatewood, Nate Jones and George Walker working outside at flanker.) At tailback, Selvin Young will soon face a full-speed, full-pad, tackling defense for the first time in almost a year, which Brown mentioned as something to watch. At linebacker, Brown reiterated that the coaches are cross-training the LBs, including Robert Killebrew, who could be an option in the middle if Aaron Harris missed any time (and if Scott Derry remains sidelined). Rashad Bobino is a bit undersized for the spot, but he practiced at MLB all of last season and could be another option if absolutely necessary, as could Eric Hall. "You'd like to have six (LBs)," the head coach said. "Right now we're working with five with a chance to get that sixth." (Who are the top 'backers? Based on practice rotation and comments from coaches, it appears to be Harris, Killebrew, Bobino and Drew Kelson, with Derry when healthy, Eric Foreman and Eric Hall fighting for the fifth and sixth spots.)

"We've got to figure out who we are on offense with Cedric gone," said Brown on other areas of emphasis over the next couple of weeks. "We looked at that some (in March) but Selvin wasn't out there in the spring and the young freshmen weren't out there in the spring so we've got to figure out what our personality is going to be. And we've go to continue to learn the defense even though it's not that much different than it was a year ago; there's a lot of carryover. And the kicking game we have continued to emphasize with the guys and said, 'The kicking game could have lost the Rose Bowl for us so we've got to make sure it starts winning games instead of at the end of the year where it had a chance to lose one.'"

OC Greg Davis also spoke of his offense's focus as the season opener looms.

"There's always a series of things you want to do in two-a-days," the OC said. "Obviously get the offense installed then two, then you want to see what players are going to be able to help you this year and then you need to work on the little things about your offense. For the most part, through seven practices, we have the large majority of stuff in, now it all hasn't been repped and cleaned up but they've been exposed to it through meetings, film study, board work, walk throughs, now we have to go back and start really getting down to the details of it over the next 19 days."

Speaking of freshmen that might help the team this year, Davis praised the play of true frosh TE Jermichael Finley. "I think he has a chance to be like the Bo Scaife-David Thomas (TEs) because he can really stretch the field," Davis said. "He's got great hands and he's not shy. He's actually bigger than David Thomas was as a freshman."

Notes: Matt Nordgren did not practice Sunday morning to rest a sore shoulder but is expected to participate in Sunday's evening workout. No injury updates on Jordan Shipley (hamstring) or Scott Derry (right ankle)... Texas practices again Sunday evening at 7:05 p.m. The practice is closed to both fans and the media, and there is no post-practice player or coach availability to the media.

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