Texas QBs: Farther Along Than You Might Think

Texas worked-out in full pads Friday for the first time this season, but there is one thing Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis already knows: Colt McCoy and Jevan Snead have made more progress than any freshman QBs he has ever coached.

"Both of them are farther ahead than any freshman quarterback we've ever had," Davis said, "and we've had some really good freshmen quarterbacks. These two guys have had so many more reps (than previous freshman QBs). If you look back to the spring training when we first got here, Richard Walton took the first-team reps so Major (Applewhite) didn't get as many snaps with that group. When Chris (Simms) came in, Major was here. When Vince (Young) came in, Chance (Mock) was here. They (McCoy and Snead) have gotten so many more snaps, and it's reflected in how much farther ahead they are in the overall picture.

Added Davis, "I'm really pleased with their leadership abilities, and that really came out this summer. When (coaches) are not there, they had to get everybody to the Bubble (indoor practice facility) and working-out. It really has allowed their leadership to come out. It's more evident now than it was in the spring."

Davis' primary concern is whether Texas can get enough explosive plays (runs of 12+ yards and completions of 16+ yards) from the QBs during the early part of the season.

"The Zone-Read will still be a good part of what we do but it may not be the featured play," Davis said. "It's been the feature for three years. Both of these guys can run it, and we're real pleased with their execution of it. At the same time, we realize we have two running backs and a good offensive line and we have to make sure we get them the ball."

Snead and McCoy are splitting snaps, but McCoy continues to primarily work with the Ones.

"As soon as they get settled, we'll give Jevan some (work with the First Team) for no reason other than you need both quarterbacks to handle snap counts with both teams and with both centers," coach Mack Brown said. "Since we're operating out of the shotgun and up underneath, you have to prepare for both guys to be able to play in a ballgame. You do no want the snap count to get you offsides the first three times when a new quarterback comes in."

Depth Chart

Part of the reason why coaches don't release depth charts until the week of the home opener is that it can be an added incentive to younger players. Both Davis and Brown have said coaches aren't as concerned about depth charts as are fans and media. But they did offer these insights Friday about who should be trotting onto the field with the First Team against North Texas on September 2.

"Selvin (Young) is the starter," Davis said. "He's had a tremendous summer and he's a great leader. He's got his weight down and he's playing at a high level."

Jamaal Charles led all RBs with 878 yards and 11 TDs on the way to Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors in 2005.

"Both Jamaal Charles and Selvin will be extremely tired at the end of every ballgame," Davis added.

Sophomore Henry Melton is expected to be an every-down back, but you get a slightly different perspective from Davis and Brown. Said Davis: "Last year, Henry mainly worked in the short-yardage and goal-line sets, but now he's worked into the much more normal flow of things." Said Brown, "We'll use Henry on short-yards and goal-line until Henry shows us the ability that he can be an every-down back."

Coaches will make a decision over the weekend whether to play freshman Antwan Cobb at FB, TB or linebacker. Every other day, the Pflugerville-product has rotated between offense and defense.

"Our short-yardage and goal-line fullbacks, right now, would be Derek Lokey and Roy Miller," Brown said. "We'll also probably use Lamarr Houston there."

Otherwise, Brown labeled the competition at FB as "wide-open." Marcus Myers are expected to start at FB, but Texas only opened with a FB in two games last season.

Cedric Dockery and Adam Ulatoski had gained separation from the other younger offensive lineman, Brown said. Although Justin Blalock worked some at RG this week, it is expected that Dockery will take over Will Allen's spot at RG. Ulatoski is emerging as the sixth O-lineman that coaches can count on, but they need a couple more of the underclassmen to step-up.

The starter is senior Neale Tweedie, whose game-day experience gives him the edge over explosive RS-freshman Jermichael Finley.

"Finley is a tremendous athlete but he's never taken a (collegiate) snap," Davis said. "David (Thomas) had taken so many snaps that it was hard for the defense to do something that David hadn't seen. Jermichael is a great athlete with great eye-hand coordination, but there is still another learning-curve that he has to go through until he sees different kinds of blitzes on the field and those kinds of things, He gives us, at that position, what we've had in the past: the ability to stretch the field and the ability to beat one-on-one coverage."

Senior Greg Johnson has been labeled a 'bust' in some circles. On Friday, Brown said the starting assignment at P/PK is "still open." An advantage that Johnson has, other than game-day experience, is the height he gets on his KOs, Brown said. In all probability, Johnson would handle P/PK chores (at least early in the season) while two-time, all-state freshman Hunter Lawrence would likely handle FGs.

"We think you can kick-off and punt easier than you can punt and do field goals," Brown said. "It's just a different mentality. They both have a different type of pressure,"

Vince Young's status as 'flow session leader' has been passed on to LT Tony Hills.
"No doubt. No doubt about it," Hills affirmed.


Friday was the day MLB Robert Killebrew had been anticipating for five months. The Horns were in full pads for the first time this season, marking the occasion when the defense could actually hit someone. Word is that the defense took full advantage and set the tempo early.

"The defense was trying to knock our heads off," Jamaal Charles said. "The next two days, we (offense) are going to come back hard and start knocking them out, They couldn't wait to get in pads and start hitting us."

From Charles' perspective, the hardest hit of the day still belonged to the offense. "Somebody got ran over today on defense," he said.

Who did?

"Ryan Palmer. By Chris Ogbonnaya, the tailback."

The biggest difference in going from shells to full pads, Brown believes, is mental.

"All the older guys have talked to the younger ones about how physical this is going to be. 'We're gonna hit ya', and all that. We actually had an inside-drill today and a scrimmage. It was a wide-open, get-after type day in pads. The guys really got after each other."


Ohio State coach Jim Tressel called Brown this week and asked if it was hot in Texas.

Brown told him "no."

All kidding aside, the Horns are practicing in triple-digit heat. In fact, Texas will practice at 10:45 a.m., Saturday, to acclimate players to what will likely be the game-time weather conditions when the season kicks off against North Texas, 11 a.m., on September 2.

Horns Digest Top Stories