Kelson Wants A Piece Of The Action

Sophomore Drew Kelson is a sudden-impact player who, though recruited as one of the nation’s most highly-touted strong safeties, doesn’t mind being closer to the action now that Texas coaches have moved him to SLB. In fact, he likes it.

Playing seven yards closer to the LOS means that Kelson is directly involved in nearly every play. That’s the best part of his latest transition, he reports.

"Every play, I’m in the midst of the action," Kelson said. "No matter which direction it’s going, I have an assignment. I’m right where the action is."

And Kelson is the type of talent who, like a certain credit card, is every where you want him to be. He has already worked at three positions during the past calendar year.

The Houston Lamar product was a three-year starter at SS and earned 2004 Parade High School All-America honors after posting 164 tackles and six INTs (three returned for TD) during his senior season.

He appeared in nine games on special teams as a Longhorn true freshman, including DB in one game and RB against Baylor and Rice. Then, coaches were scrambling to compensate for the loss of a pair of RBs (Selvin Young, Erik Hardeman). Now, the versatile Kelson has been asked to shore up depth at another thin spot in the lineup.

Kelson said he didn’t hesitate when Co-Defensive Coordinator Gene Chizik asked him to move to SAM linebacker before the start of August camp.

"If the coaches felt like that was the best move for the team, I was cool with it," Kelson said.

Despite the fact that linebackers are being cross-trained, and despite the fact that sophomore SLB Eric Foreman finished atop the depth chart last spring, the starting spot at SAM is shaping up as a down-to-the-wire battle between Kelson and senior Eric Hall (who started all 12 games in 2004 at SAM). The fact that Hall will shift to power end on pass-rush situations indicates that, at some point, Kelson will be on the field at SLB with the first team D.

"Obviously, everybody would like to be able to earn that right to walk out with the first team," Kelson said, "but I think, with the direction this is going, we’re going to have more than one guy who is capable of handling the job. It’s not really focused on who’s going to start. I just feel like I need to be able to play so that my coaches and teammates will have confidence in me."

Kelson will almost undoubtedly finish his career at SS, head coach Mack Brown said late last. Kelson isn’t so sure, but it doesn’t seem to matter to him.

"The defense is pretty simple whether you’re playing safety or linebacker," he said. "It’s just a matter of being coached on the technique. I feel like no matter where they put me, I can fit in pretty well. The coaches, really, design the defense for the players."

"Right now I’m just focused on getting my assignments down, getting aligned right, and doing that," he said. "It’s been challenging but I’ve made the adjustments so everything’s going real well right now."

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