Depth Chart Set; A Few Questions Remain

As players fought for position throughout August, the Texas coaches kept the Texas depth chart under wraps. Monday morning at Bellmont, and just five days till kickoff of the season opener vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, the wrapping came off, but with few surprises.

Click here to see the official depth chart.

Mack Brown confirmed somewhat tongue in cheek, that no, there would be no quarterback rotation ("We have decided that Vince will be the quarterback. We will not rotate Matt in and out early.") and he prefers not to have to rotate tailbacks ("but you may have to" depending on how Selvin holds up to physically and psychologically to the post-injury pounding) but with the talent available at both defensive tackle and linebacker, a rotation is inevitable with three and five "starters" available, respectively, at each of those spots.

"If you took Bobino, Killebrew, Aaron Harris, Drew Kelson and Eric Hall, they're all five starters," Brown said. "There's very little difference in them when you put them in except Eric's played more and been more experienced. Drew will probably stay at SAM but Eric Hall can play SAM and WILL, Killebrew can play all three and we felt like that helped us build some depth. And we've seen a lot of progress the last week out of Eric Foreman so we do feel like all six of those could play in a ballgame."

"Larry and Frank and Rod would be the starting defensive linemen," said Brown. "Frank can play both nose and defensive tackle, Larry is a nose and Rod's a tackle, so we would actually rotate those three and go from there to the other guys. All three of those guys we feel like deserve to start. Rod has played like he did as a sophomore. He had a great spring and great preseason. This is the best I've seen him play in a while... He's back full speed and he looks really, really good."

Then there's wideout. The numbers are most definitely there (eight wideouts are listed on the depth chart at the three receiver positions) and starters are named (Brian Carter at flanker, Limas Sweed or Ramonce Taylor at split end and Billy Pittman at sub b), but has this group, comprised of many of the same names as last fall, made significant progress -- enough to be a legitimate offensive focus -- where last year's did not?

"They're all playing better," Brown said Monday. "And if you add Ramonce to the group. And Jordan Shipley and Quan, you've got the same guys with three really good players added to the group from last year that make it more competitive."

The head coach said to expect to see RT at both split end and flanker plus running back (Taylor, although not listed at RB on the depth chart would still be first off the bench at tailback if Selvin Young had to leave the game). Brown also praised Cosby, but adding that the true freshman had been away from football for four years till earlier this summer and that he's playing wideout for the first time. And he noted that Shipley's injury status is still a question mark ("He'll need to be full speed tonight...). So, depending on circumstance, the performance at wide receiver -- and particularly the coach's stated desire to "stretch the field more in our passing game" -- still could come down to guys named Sweed and Jones and Carter and Pittman.

Another continuing area of concern, according to Brown, is a familiar one: special teams. "We need to be vastly improved at least in kickoff coverage and kickoff return," he said.

Richmond McGee remains the man at all three kicking spots, but, Brown said, "Greg Johnson is punting well and can kick off well and David Pino has gotten well and he's kicking the ball well so we do feel like we've got the ability if we see it weighing on Richmond to play the other guys. They're good enough to play right now."

Speaking of playing right now, Brown said a few true freshmen should see the field Saturday vs. the Ragin' Cajuns. Jamaal Charles and Henry Melton earned back-up spots on the depth chart (as the co-No. 2s at tailback with "Jamaal getting some carries, Henry being the short yardage, goalline guy"), as did Quan Cosby (at sub b). DT Roy Miller is at the most stocked position on the field but he too "probably will" play, according to Brown. The coaches are less certain on TE Jermichael Finley, DE Christopher Brown and DE Aaron Lewis. Aside from that, the rest (including Colt McCoy) are not expected to play barring something happening this week in practice.

Of the guys that are not expected to play, Brown said, "You would not play them to clean up unless there was an emergency at an injury position that you needed to get them some playing time for the next week."

After the weekend off, Texas returned to the practice field Monday evening at 6 to simulate the start time of Saturday's Louisiana-Lafayette game.

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