"If we played today," Brown said, "at least two of those guys would play a lot."
Charles is considered the offensive jewel of this years recruiting class and had the most totes of all RBs (eight carries for 40 yards) in Saturdays scrimmage. The Parade All-American and two-time Texas 5A first-teamer is "running ahead" of the other freshmen backs, Brown reported last week. Yet Melton is flat-out running over people.
The Grapevine product has proven surprisingly quick given his size (6-3, 275 pounds). He bulldozed for 29 yards on just three carries in Saturdays scrimmage. His tenure at tailback is considered a tryout, Brown said just before camp, as Melton is built like a prototypical FB (not to mention a prototypical NFL defensive end). The Horns are obviously bereft of an experienced FB but Melton has emerged as Texas' irresistible object and will be on the field during goalline or short yardage situations.
Speedster Jerrell Wilkerson has mad skills and shattered all existing San Antonio rushing records (including Priest Holmes old mark) on the way to USA Today All-America honors. Yet, Wilkerson is a definite "maybe" for losing his redshirt against the Ragin Cajuns.
"Well have to look at him," Brown said.
Michael Houston participated in spring drills at RB after graduating early. He now shores up the depth at FB.
Young has never lost his grip on the starting job, but Brown has never backed off from his expressed fear that the injury-prone junior might not last the season. As a precaution, Young will not be returning kicks this season (he suffered a season-ending broken ankle on a KO return at Arkansas in 2004) although he is expected to give Texas' punt return game the explosiveness it lacked last season.
But if Young goes down, it appears more and more likely that Texas starting RB would be Charles.
Brown announced one week ago that Ramonce Taylor would work at RB, not WR. A lot can happen in a week, as RTs backfield presence is now "limited". As most expected, RT has emerged as an all-purpose back who will play RB but also all three WR spots. RT has lined up at SE, in the slot and at sub-B (the third receiver in a three-wide set).
"Well try to play him at running back on a limited basis," Brown said. "If, for some reason Selvin wasnt playing, wed probably move him back there immediately until we see about the freshmen running backs, to see if they could handle it all."
Taylor has been clocked at 4.27 and is a go-the-distant threat every time he touches the ball. Brown regrets that coaches didnt do a better job of getting the ball in RTs hands last season. Other than special teams, the fuel-injected speedster had one touch in Saturdays scrimmage: a reverse pitch that he took 68 yards to the house.
"Every time he touches the ball he has a chance to score," Brown said of the fastest player he has ever coached, "but we have to make sure that hes a decoy as well, and that we can hide his plays."
Theres no hiding the fact, however, that Brown expects this years smallish freshman class (14 signees) to have an immediate impact. Particularly the running backs.