Tuesday Practice Notes & Quotes

Notes and quotes from the Horns' Tuesday afternoon practice.

It doesn't matter who starts at RB, Texas coach Mack Brown said Tuesday, but rather who finishes there.

During Texas' bye week, the hot topic remains whether freshman RB Jamaal Charles has made enough of a statement to stake his claim for the top spot. His 189 yards (in essentially two quarters of work against Rice) shattered UT's freshman starting debut record for a single game that stood for 16 seasons.

"The way we approach it," Brown said, "is the guy who is moving the ball the most will stay in the game."

Young has not practiced since re-aggravating his left ankle injury during the first half against Ohio State

"We'll take care of him all week and, hopefully, he'll be full-speed and ready to go next week," Brown said. "We will not practice him this week but he'll get some things in the play-polish but he will not be hit. Hopefully, he'll be 100 percent for next week."

The Horns open Big 12 Conference play on the road for the first time since Brown's first season in Austin. The October 1 game at Missouri is set for an 11 a.m. split-national telecast on ABC.

"We started this year not talking about starters and I think it's been one of the better things we've done with our program," Brown said. "We're playing two deep, and we're trying to get the healthiest, freshest guys on the field. Jamaal has shown that he can start and play well. Selvin's a great leader. We want him healthy because we've seen him play really well in the past. As far as who starts, it doesn't make any difference."

With just one start under his belt, Charles is averaging 116.67 ypg (NCAA No. 15) and has 40 carries on the season. That put him just ahead of Oklahoma RB Adrian Peterson (113.67 ypg, 77 carries). Kansas State RB Thomas Clayton leads the nation with a 164.5 average. (The junior was arrested Friday after a K-State parking services employee alleged that Clayton almost ran him over while trying to avoid having his vehicle immobilized for several outstanding parking tickets. Wildcat coach Bill Snyder declined to comment Monday about whether Clayton would be benched for the off-the-field incident. Just a guess: Synder benches Clayton for Saturday's game against North Texas and clears him to play in K-State's league-opener at OU.)

"Selvin's all right," QB Vince Young told me Tuesday. "He understands that he's got to let the ankle heel. You don't want to get out there too fast. Just like Ship (FL Jordan Shipley, who remains sidelined from game action due to an early August hamstring pull), you don't want to get out there too fast. Take it slow until you can give it 100 percent. You know they're going to be back."

Upon Further Review

"In evaluating the first three games, the guys did exactly what we asked them to do and they did it in the manner that we wanted them to," Brown said. "They dominated the two games where we had better personnel than the other teams, and they dominated from start to finish. There's been days where we didn't take those games and dominate them like we should. It's a good sign. At Ohio State, we just had to win. There's still some stuff we need to work on in those games, but not their attitude or their toughness. We told the guys today, 'We're 3-0. We did it the way we needed to do it, and there are still a lot of things we can improve."

Brown clearly wants his team to cut down on turnovers and penalties, which he believes is uncharacteristic for a squad as experienced as the 2005 Longhorns. He believes junior Greg Johnson, who logged his first start with the KO team Saturday, may give his beleaguered coverage team the lift it's needed (read: touchbacks; Johnson had three of them against Rice). Johnson, of course, was a freshman All-American at Vanderbilt in 2002. But Texas coaches have not seen much of the form that saw Johnson rank fifth nationally, and lead the SEC, with an average 43.8 yards-per-punt.

"We thought Greg Johnson would be a good player for us and we're starting to see some of that now," Brown said. "For the first time, he kicked off good. He's punting really, really well right now. I think he'll end up being what we thought he would be before he leaves."

The bye week comes at an opportune time, Brown believes.

"Two years ago, we had the first game, an open date, and then Arkansas, and we didn't like (the open date)," Brown said. "We really didn't have enough in-house to evaluate and study. They weren't tired and they weren't in a position where they needed some time off. We needed to keep playing. This year, the open date gives us an opportunity to catch our breath, play through the conference schedule, have (another) break and then play A&M. This is a lot better."

The Horns will practice Wednesday and Thursday before being released Friday following their classes.

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