Freshmen Turn In Impressive Offensive Debut

Saturday's scrimmage in front of a live crowd at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium gave the staff its first look at the 2005 Longhorn team, and particularly the newcomers, in a game-like atmosphere. And several freshmen on offense stepped up on the bigger stage, none more so than big running back Henry Melton.

The 6-3, 270-pound true frosh from Grapevine made the most of this opportunities at tailback, rushing three times for 29 yards.

"I haven't been around a guy since (former A&M massive running back) George Woodard years ago that was that size that was athletic with eye-hand coordination," offensive coordinator Greg Davis marveled. "He is a big back, he's a bruiser, and right now we're working him mainly in short yardage, goalline situations in the I formation but we'll continue to work him in the shotgun offense and see how he picks that up."

Texas operated almost exclusively out of the 'gun Saturday (except in short yardage and goalline situations when it went to the I or the jumbo backfield), looking less like the down hill running team it often resembled with guys like Ricky Williams and then Cedric Benson in the offensive backfield. But Melton appears tailor-made for that punishing style of play, even if it's only as a change-up to the speedy Selvin Young or the smooth Jamaal Charles, the other standout freshman running back of the scrimmage.

"They all bring a little something different to the table," Davis added. "Selvin at this point brings maturity and he's good in blitz pick-up, he's a good receiver -- he caught the touchdown today -- and he's a good ball carrier. I'm extremely pleased with Jamaal Charles and the way he's picked things up. He's a slashing runner with great speed, and Henry Melton is a... very seldom do you see a guy at that size that you feel can be productive at tailback and we feel that he can especially in the short yardage situations and in late game situations when you're trying to grind on people, so they all bring a little something different to the table."

"He's not a heavy kid," Mack Brown said of Melton, "he's just a big young man and we feel like that he can really add something in the short yardage and goalline and fourth quarter when you're grinding it that Ricky was so good at and Cedric has been good for the last few years. We do feel like Jamaal gives us some speed out there that Ramonce did when we was playing tailback and Henry gives us the power."

Charles, working mainly with the second-team offense (and at times facing the first-team defense) totaled 40 yards on eight carries, including a nifty direction change on an outside run and later a up-the-middle, slicing 5-yard TD scamper.

True freshmen tailback Jerrell Wilkerson (3 carries for 10 yards) and fullback Michael Houston saw some late action.

Colt McCoy, appearing surprisingly comfortable in the offense after just under three weeks of formal practices, spread the wealth to fellow freshmen in the passing game, hitting Quan Cosby for 11 yards (Cosby also had a 23-yard kickoff return), Jermichael Finley for 16 and redshirt freshman TE Peter Ullman for 2. McCoy finished 4-of 9 for 36 yards.

"I thought Colt came in and for a freshman to come in here the first time, I thought he showed good poise and he's right on track and I'm very pleased with him," Davis said.

"Jermichael Finley has excellent eye-hand coordination, catches the ball well and has brought surprising toughness because you never know when you bring in a guy that hasn't played with his hand on the ground," the OC added. "There's still a lot of technique work (to do) but he's obviously gifted, he can run and stretch the field along the lines of a David Thomas so we're pleased with where he's at."

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