"We're taking the approach that Vondrell has to play," Davis said Monday.
The 5-10 speedster is 200 pounds of lean muscle and told Inside Texas that he runs a 4.35. Potentially, he can add some of that diminutive burst that was lost when Ramonce Taylor was 'excused' from the program.
"He's got a great center of gravity and his balance is really good," Davis told Inside Texas. "There was an example of it the other day when the safety had a good shot at him and basically knocked his feet out from under him. Vondrell put his hand down and turned it into an explosive play (a run of 12+ yards)."
Coach Mack Brown prefers to redshirt O-linemen, but Five-Star North Mesquite product J'Marcus Webb is a strong candidate for playing time. It's obvious coaches still aren't satisfied with the depth along the offensive front. (Better said, they aren't satisfied with the inconsistency of many of the young backups. Webb has worked at LT this fall. Otherwise, the right side of the line will look like this: when Justin Blalock is at RG, RS-freshman Adam Ulatoski will start at RT. When sophomore Cedric Dockery works with the Ones at RG, Blalock will shift to the outside. Ulatoski will see time at both tackle positions this fall.
"What we're comparing is Ulatoski and Dockery, and nothing really happened at the scrimmage that separated those two. We feel like they both have to play. Blalock would be the first to tell you he's much more comfortable at tackle, but he's had a bunch of snaps at guard this fall."
Even though there are just two scholarship quarterbacks on campus, it looks like freshman QB Sherrod Harris will be redshirted.
"Barring something unusual, he'll travel with the team with the idea that we'll redshirt him. We've talked to him about that. It's too early to make that call but, if everybody stays healthy, that's what we'll do."
The toughest rotation for a true freshman to crack is at WR. Davis believes there is not an appreciable drop-off when any of his top five pass catchers (Limas Sweed, Billy Pittman, Quan Cosby, Jordan Shipley, Nate Jones) are on the field. TE Jermichael Finley has the explosiveness to be a go-the-distance threat, so the three wideouts signed this year (Montre Webber, Josh Marshall, Phillip Payne) will likely be redshirted.
"We haven't determined anything yet about the true freshmen receivers," Davis said, "but, more than likely, they'll be redshirted. That (WR) is a really deep spot."
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Coaches were generally pleased with Saturday's scrimmage at the stadium, even though Davis said there too many "administrative penalties" (offsides, false starts, etc.).
"Most of them were with the younger guys. The First group, for the most part, handled all the signals well. We were signaling to them from the sideline. They're still some spots that have to be polished, but we got out of the scrimmage what we wanted."
RS-freshman Colt McCoy led the Ones to TDs on each of the two series that he managed.
"Colt was really sharp. He was five-of-six on the day, he led us to touchdowns and he looked really good."
Added Davis, "We've talked to both (McCoy, Jevan Snead) that there are going to be times when we're a little bit off, the ball gets tipped, we go to the wrong spot, or whatever. How you handle that, to some degree, will determine what kind of quarterback you become. We tell our quarterback recruits that playing quarterback here is like being a professional quarterback because everything they do is well-scrutinized and very visible in the public eye."
RUNNING BACK BY COMMITTEE
RB Jamaal Charles is front-and-center on the cover of Sports Illustrated's college football preview issue, one of six regional covers, that hit newsstands this past weekend. Flanked by RT/G Justin Blalock and LG Kasey Studdard, Charles is the only backup player donning any of the covers.
Senior RB Selvin Young will get the start in the season-opener and is running at "mid-season form," according to Davis.
"He was breaking tackles, seeing the hole and doing things that good backs do during Saturday's scrimmage. What he didn't do during the scrimmage, just because it didn't lend itself to it, is he didn't catch a bunch of balls. He's a really good receiver out of the backfield."
It appears Young has regained much of the explosiveness he displayed as a true freshman (2002) before being sidelined for nearly all of 2004, and much of 2005, with ankle injuries.
"As a freshman, he was really pushing Cedric (Benson) for time. And then Selvin got hurt and Cedric went on to become a workhorse."
In fact, Davis believes Young's tendency to fumble last season was directly related to his health issues.
"Last year, he tried to get on the field too quickly. When you're not healthy, your ball-protection usually slips. We don't have a big concern about it, but we're aware of it. But he hasn't shown those tendencies this fall."