Defense is Bringing the House Against QBs

Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis recently told RS-freshman Colt McCoy and true freshman Jevan Snead that he loved them both enough to want to have them as sons-in-law. But, at some point this season, only one will earn the starting assignment. And that's why it's been a week of 'tough love' for the young signalcallers.

"I told them both that I would be proud if they married my daughter if she wasn't 33 years-old with two children and already married," Davis said Wednesday. "At the same time, we've got to do what we think is good for the football team."

And what's good for the team is to hold very little back defensively, even though Texas coaches have subjected freshman QBs to relatively little pressure in recent years. Then again, fielding a pair of freshman QBs who have never taken a collegiate snap represents uncharted waters for Davis since he's been in Austin.

"These are the only freshman quarterbacks we've had who have gone through a spring training where they were in the First (Team) huddle and in a Fall Camp where they were in the First huddle," Davis said. "If you look back through all the other ones we've had in eight years, none of them went through spring and fall in the First huddle while looking at the First defense and looking at all the blitzes because we didn't expect any of them to have to come in and play. That has really helped their maturation process."

Coaches know that opponents tend to become blitz-happy when facing untested QBs. That's why Wednesday's scrimmage at Denius Field began with 10 straight blitzes. Davis reports he has observed an appreciable level of maturation in both Colt McCoy and Jevan Snead since the spring.

"You can tell by how they handled that situation, knowing what to do with the football, knowing who's coming to come free, you can see the quarterbacks reacting."

Part of the reason Texas is able to throw so many looks at the QBs is because, for the first time in three seasons, the Horns return the same Defensive Coordinator. Co-Defensive Coordinator Gene Chizik knows that his base defenses was installed last year so his unit need not concern itself this season with new terminology and different schemes.

"We are so much farther along at this point in what our defense is doing, and it started in the spring" Davis continued. "Typically, in the spring, we play base (offense) versus base (defense). There's not a whole lot of blitzing going on, and a quarterback can get a false sense of security. Knowing that we were going to play young quarterbacks, and knowing this is the second (season) with Gene, he was ready to go further in spring training than we had in previous spring trainings. So, we gave (the QBs) a bunch of looks during spring ball, and we started that early. The third practice of fall camp, we started blitzing them. Every day since then, we have had blitz-work."

Coaches have said all along that, if the season started today, McCoy would start against North Texas simply because he has an extra year in the system.

"Colt is just a little bit ahead mentally because this is his third time through (two August camps, one spring training). That's when you lay the foundation for everything that happens throughout the season before you get into the game-planning. It's the second time through for Jevan. He went through it during the spring, but he basically went through it as a high school senior. That's why Colt is a little bit ahead at this time."

Yet, coaches have also said they will withhold a final verdict until after they've evaluated both QBs on game-day. That obviously means both will play against North Texas, and both will play throughout the season. But it does not necessarily mean that both will play, say, against Ohio State.

"There's a certain process you have to go through, and it starts against air: throwing the ball, understanding where everybody's at, understanding progressions. Then it moves to the defense simulating the blitz. Then it becomes live. We won't know the game-situation until we get out there. What we've told them is that, at some point they will separate themselves. When we see them in live-work, at some point, they'll start separating themselves in terms of taking care of the ball, moving the team, showing leadership, handling adversity and handling the good things that happen."

The Horns return to two-a-days on Thursday, with practice slated to begin at 7:15 a.m. and 3:16 p.m.

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