Taylor, Charles Taking Reps At First-Team RB

Sophomore Ramonce Taylor and freshman Jamaal Charles worked exclusively at RB with Texas' first-team offense Tuesday, signaling a return to health for Charles and foreshadowing what could be Taylor's most productive day in the backfield as the Horns gear for Saturday's visit to Baylor.

Taylor has worked primarily at WR and typically logs no more than one series at RB at practice but told Inside Texas, "Today, I took every rep at running back with the first group and then Jamaal switched out." The fastest player head coach Mack Brown has ever coached -- RT has been clocked at 4.23 -- will likely surpass this weekend the season-best five carries he logged Saturday against Oklahoma State.

Junior Selvin Young started the last three ballgames but continues to be slowed by a nagging ankle injury suffered against UL-Lafayette in the season-opener. He came out limping in the 47-28 comeback Saturday after being held to four yards on six carries. Brown approached RT early in the second half at Stillwater and said, "Be ready."

"I strapped up and got a little grin on my face," Taylor said, "and then he put me in there."

And then Taylor was off to the races, rushing for a season-best 77 yards, including a pair of TDs. QB Vince Young found RT for 13 yards on a key third down conversion with the Horns trailing 28-19. It was part of a 10-play, 75-yard drive capped by VY's 8-yard TD scamper. RT all but put the game out of reach with his 57-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter and then sealed the deal with his 12-yard scoring run with just under four minutes remaining.

"Ramonce is steadily becoming our Reggie Bush," head coach Mack Brown said. "Every time he touches it, he has a chance to score. He gives us a chance every time we return kickoffs to have great field position and put us in a position to answer the touchdown. He can beat you in so many different ways. He's becoming very valuable to us, and he's learning to play the college game better. We'll play him at both wide receiver and tailback this week."

Charles reported that he was "100 percent today" in sharing backfield snaps with RT, affirming Brown's earlier comments that he was slowed Saturday by cramping in his right calf rather than by the sore ankle that has hampered him since the third quarter of the OU game. The freshman speculated that the cramping resulted from his decision to consume soft drinks earlier last week, a habit that he ordinarily forgoes during football and track seasons.

"I was thinking that I wasn't going to run track until May so I decided to start drinking soda water," he said Tuesday. "That was my fault. I had just started, too."

RT spent the entire spring atop the depth chart at RB but has devoted most of his practice time this year at SE, given Charles' emergence in the backfield. He can also line up in the slot or take on the Sub B role in three-receiver sets. RT has one career start but it came when Texas opened in a four-wide set against Ohio State.

"It doesn't matter where I line up as long as I can help my team," he said. "At running back, you get the ball a little bit more. It's a good thing to play running back because you can make anything happen."

RT has gradually become more prominent in the offense since the start of Big 12 play. He posted a couple of highlight reel TD grabs against Missouri and Oklahoma, combining for 92 yards on five receptions. He then added 80 yards on 10 grabs in consecutive outings against Colorado and Texas Tech, but had just nine carries for 89 yards before the Oklahoma State game.

"If it's not worked out where I get to touch the ball, then I've got to deal with that," Taylor said. "I'm pretty much liking the way things are going right now."

The Belton product will get a chance to razzle-dazzle a significant number of hometown friends and family at Floyd Casey Stadium, just a stone's throw from where he rushed for 3,899 yards and 52 TDs on 480 carries (8.1 ypc) during his final two seasons in high school.

"I really didn't watch Baylor at all growing up," he said, "but after one of my good friends went there (WR Dominique Zeigler), I watched them a little bit. Plus, they recruited me hard."

Kickoff in Waco is set for 11:30 a.m. on a Fox Sports Net telecast.

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