'Situational Scrimmage' Tests QBs

Texas' final scrimmage of the pre-season, held Wednesday evening at DKR, was a situational scrimmage in which coaches attempted to inundate both freshman QBs with nearly every game-day scenario they could possibly face during the first month of the season. The session will help coaches reach a final decision on this year's depth chart.

"It wasn't a drive-scrimmage," head coach Mack Brown said. "There were only two times that we took the ball and moved it because, with the young quarterbacks, we needed to throw every situation at them that we possibly could and let them be in game-situations. The coaches were off the field. We made them think. We had the 25-second clock. They had to do everything themselves."

The 70-play scrimmage saw the QBs take snaps "from the goal line, or coming in with 20 seconds left in the game, seven seconds left in the half, and field goals at the end of that situation. We worked a lot of nickel and dime stuff that we needed to work. We worked on situations that may come up during the first three or four games of the season."

Brown continued to use the collective "both" when referring to the performance of QBs Colt McCoy and Jevan Snead.

"Both were good again tonight. We're really pleased where both of them are. We're much more excited now than we were at the start of the spring about our quarterbacks....When he's walked on the field, Colt has been in-charge and he's been good. Jevan has been the same way, which is even more amazing since he's a true freshman. They've been mature, and they've handled tipped-balls and interceptions and sacks. They've got a better supporting cast around them than any of the other quarterbacks we've had when they were their age. We feel like they have a better chance to be successful than some of the other guys that have been really successful. The challenge for them is to try not to do too much."

As in Saturday's scrimmage, McCoy hooked up with SE Limas Sweed on a deep ball and connected later with FL Quan Cosby. Snead's work consisted primarily of intermediate routes. (It was precisely the shorter routes where the rifle-armed Snead recently said he needed the most polish). Neither QB threw an INT and there were no fumbles.

"We've got six receivers that we think can play. We feel good about that position. We're fine at running back. The quarterbacks have been the obvious question, but that's working itself out."

Defensively, "Marcus Griffin has been great at safety. He will start at (FS) if things continue as they are until game time. We're really pleased with his progress. But there are a lot of guys at backup in the secondary that we're looking at to see who'll come out of that. That's one of the biggest decisions we'll make this weekend."

The perception that Texas' youthful linebackers were the team's weakest link on last year's national champion team may be a distant memory.

"We've got more depth at linebacker than we've had and we like our depth on the defensive front. In fact, we're more pleased with our depth than at any time since we've been here...We feel really good about (NTs) Roy Miller, Derek Lokey and (DT) Frank Okam. Roy and Derek are coming on like gangbusters. We're really pleased with them. They've made a lot of progress in two-a-days."

For the third year, Brown is still looking for an honest pass rush from his defensive front without having to rely so heavily on blitz packages. On Wednesday, "the two ends (Brian Robison, Tim Crowder) had great pressure with pass rush. They would have had some sacks, that we pulled them off of, that would have been significant."

Brian Robison and Michael Griffin each blocked a FG attempt.

"They're the two best I've ever seen," Brown said. "They have great timing in blocking kicks."

Texas will practice Thursday afternoon and Friday morning before Brown gives players the weekend off. Even so, Wednesday's scrimmage is the symbolic end of "the hottest two-a-days in the history of Texas." Three weeks of triple-digit heat broke records dating back to 1902. The Horns report back Sunday and the first official depth chart will be released Monday morning.

Horns Digest Top Stories