Spring: McCoy Starting QB; Melton To DE

Texas coach Mack Brown announced key personnel changes Thursday on the cusp of his ninth version of spring football at the Forty Acres. But the announcement of QB Vince Young's successor came as no surprise.

Colt McCoy will be the third RS-freshman of Brown's Texas tenure to hold down the starting job at QB, or at least that will be the case when drills begin Monday.

"Colt will be the starting quarterback because he has the experience," Brown said. "He has the experience and he'll help Jevan learn the system. They'll both be playing with the first team, some. We've had a lot of success with young quarterbacks. We're not concerned about that area, even though that's the area where we have to make sure we're knowledgeable enough that we can put them in the right places and not give them too much."

"We will tell Colt and Jevan the same things we've told all of our young quarterbacks, including Vince, and that is they need to first learn to manage the game. They probably won't be the guy who'll just go win the game. We tell them not to try to go out there and do everything. We'll find out what they do best and feature that. We'll do what we've done with each quarterback, and hopefully we'll do it quicker, is find out what they're comfortable with. We want to do it sooner so we can help them gain confidence really early."

In other words, Brown does not anticipate a wholesale offensive change at midseason (as was the case in 2003). He also believes Texas can run the same offense regardless of who is behind center, and that there will not be a significant makeover in schemes just because VY has opted for the NFL.

"We'll have the same offense that we've had," Brown said. "We may feature different players because, obviously, Vince will not be there. We'll have inexperience at quarterback, but we think both the young guys (McCoy, Snead) are talented. You find someone like Vince once in a lifetime. You find someone like Ricky Williams once in a lifetime. When you find those guys, you try to do the best you can with them and then you move forward."

Otherwise, the most notable change is that sophomore Henry Melton is going to audition at DE, a spot where he played at Grapevine and where many have projected him in the NFL.

"Henry sees that we're really good at (RB) right now," Brown said. "He can continue to do what he did last year on offense because he did what we asked him to do really well."

The 6-3, 270-pounder ran for 432 yards and 10 TDs while playing in all 12 games during his freshman season.

"We'd still like to look at a guy like Henry at tailback in short-yardage and goal line situations," Brown said, "but we'd like to look at Sergio (Kindle) as a big back in short-yardage and goal-line because he did that in high school. If he can come fast enough at linebacker (SLB), we feel like there's some areas there for him."

Chris Ogbonnaya will work at FB primarily because of the depth Texas now enjoys at RB. The RS-sophomore switched from WR to RB last spring when ball carriers were in short supply at the Forty Acres. DE Derek Lokey also took some snaps at FB in late 2005 and may see action at that spot in short-yardage situations this season.

"We're asking the young guys that are looking at another spot to keep their hands in what they were doing so that if it doesn't work out, they can always go back," Brown said.

Looks like Selvin Young will open the spring at starting RB.

"We were really pleased with Selvin in the National Championship game," Brown said. "We thought he finally got well (ankle) the last two games. Hopefully, he can come back and have a banner year in his senior year. We want to look at Selvin this spring and see if he's improved as much as we thought we saw him improve at the end."

RB Jamaal Charles, the 2005 Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year, led all Texas RBs with 878 yards, including 11 TDs, on 119 carries. He started three contests but spent the second half of the season nursing a nagging ankle injury suffered against Oklahoma.

"We'd like to see Jamaal continue to grow," Brown said. "He's got to secure the ball better."

Charles and DE Brian Robison are also participating in track-and-field this spring.

Ramonce Taylor has found a home at RB and is not expected to play WR.

"He played so well at running back and he likes playing there. If we can get him going forward instead of backwards, you know, when he goes forward he's really good. He had a great run in the championship game on the counter play. It was one of the highlights of the game."

Junior Tyrell Gatewood will work with the linebackers this spring while backing Limas Sweed at SE.

"Tyrell has worked so hard and we're trying to help him get on the field more," Brown said.

Justin Blalock will work at both RT and RG but will log most of his snaps on the outside.

"We'd like to get back to seven or eight offensive linemen (in the rotation) instead of five. That's why we were so good at that position last year, even when we got someone hurt."

Punting duties will be handled either by Greg Johnson or RS-freshman Trevor Gerland. True freshman Hunter Lawrence will factor into the equation this August. Neale Tweedie will replace Nick Schroeder as the deep snapper. Scott Derry and Derek Lokey are the leading candidates as backups.

"That's not a position you're concerned about until you have a bad snap," Brown noted.

An emphasis this spring will be reducing the number of fumbles while forcing more turnovers. The defense literally had its hands on potentially 23 INTs last season, Brown added, and finished with 11 picks.

"I feel like we can play a lot better defense than we've played for the last two years. We had a great first half in the championship game and a less-than-great second half. Part of it was because (USC) played so good, but if you're going to be a great football team you've got to play the same way throughout the game. It was a year where we were not as good as we need to be in forcing turnovers and we still won all of our games."

For the first time during Brown's tenure, all spring football sessions will be closed to the public. Inside Texas will be present for every post-practice interview session with coaches and players and will post daily updates, plus Inside Scoop, throughout the spring. The annual Orange-White Game is set for Saturday, April 1.


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