Fullback By Committee? Or, At All?

Yes, Virginia, there is a FB in the Texas backfield. Junior Marcus Myers spoke Tuesday about what may be the most discounted position on the Longhorn roster.

It's not only the fact that two-year starter Will Matthews completed his eligibility (leaving a walk-on atop the depth chart and a converted linebacker as his understudy), it's also the fact that Texas is now gearing toward a more wide-open offense that leave many to conclude FB will be significantly de-emphasized in this year's offense. It's true that we've seen much more empty sets and single-back formations in both August camp and spring drills. Backup Marcus Myers has a coachable whatever-it-takes mentality, but he is also convinced the current group of FBs has what it takes to ensure there is no fall-off at the position.

"We really have the ability to do whatever the coaches want done," Myers said.

Ahmard Hall entered August camp atop the depth chart, but is a walkon with but one career carry on his resume (a one-yard TD plunge against North Texas in the 2004 home opener). Most fans would recognize Hall as the Marine Sergeant who carries the U.S. flag onto the field at home games (he was also bestowed the honor at Arkansas last September 11), and soon much of the rest of nation will know about Hall as well. ABC was on campus Tuesday, filming a segment featuring Hall that will be aired during the prime-time tilt at Ohio State little more than three weeks from now.

Off the field, it's a feel good story. On the field, head coach Mack Brown may be feeling a little empty when he looks around for a prototypical FB.

Chris Ogbonnaya, for example, is a converted WR who played RB during the spring and who's now taking snaps at both FB and RB. Freshman Michael Houston also made the transition this month from RB to FB. Myers has worked at linebacker during his first three years before switching to offense last spring.

"He's trying to make the transition to fullback and help us," Brown said. "Marcus is a guy who's real smart. He can catch and he's got a good work ethic. He should be a guy that can help us some this year. Our fullback needs to catch the ball."

For now, the spot is Hall's to lose while Myers walks the fine line between jockeying for the starting job while remaining a team player.

"We all just kind of compliment each other," Myers said. "We don't really look at it, fullback or running back, as competition. We all have something different to bring to the table."

Myers has seen action in 11 career games. He played in four games as a RS-sophomore in 2004, recording one special teams tackle, while playing seven games as a backup linebacker in 2003. He also missed six games due to injury that year. He was a three-year team captain at linebacker while at Pflugerville Connally but also saw limited action at FB. But he's determined to make a go of his new spot and was one of 60+ Longhorns who participated regularly in voluntary summer workouts.

"I've worked really hard this summer with the guys," Myers said. "We were all out there sweating and trying to get back to California for the Rose Bowl. That's our ultimate goal. We know we're going to take small steps along the way."


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