Saturday morning practice notes and analysis

Notes and analysis from the Horns' first full-squad practice of two-a-days:

With Sloan Thomas sidelined (see Hot News), sophomore Brian Carter stepped into the back-up role to starting SE Roy Williams. True freshman Dustin Miksch worked at the split end spot Saturday. B.J. Johnson, of course, holds the starting job at flanker, with Tony Jeffery, Kyle Shanahan and true freshman Robert Timmons filling out the line during wideout drills. . . .

Speaking of Roy Williams, Mack Brown said Saturday that Williams has been added to the Horns' -- get this -- punt block team! The head coach said there will be a lot of emphasis on special teams this season. "Roy Williams will start on the punt block team because we're putting our best players on special teams and turning them loose to try to make a couple of plays in those games when we need that playmaker to make a difference." . . .

True freshman athlete Clint Haney, who worked with the running backs during the first freshman practice, has decided to compete at defensive back only. Classmate Kasey Studdard, who alternated between the OLs and DLs during the freshman mini-camp, has decided to focus on OL. . . .

True freshman Matt Melton, who projected as a safety, worked at cornerback Saturday morning. . . .

Redshirt freshman Lance McFarland, who remained down the depth chart at weakside linebacker after spring workouts, will see if he can make a move at DE. The 6-3, 235-pounder played some DE in high school, but as we've written before, McFarland simply seems to be a 'tweener: not quite fast enough to play LB and not quite big and strong enough to play DE. He worked at LDE Saturday morning. . . .

Dakarai Pearson and Kendal Briles are alternating as the starting free safety, according to Brown, who said Pearson has "some work to do to get his job back." . . .

The coaches have flipped the back-up tackles from their spring spots, moving Will Winston to left tackle and Alfio Randall to right tackle. Robbie Doane and Jonathan Scott remain the starters at left and right tackle, respectively. Lionel Garr, who the coaches considered moving back to tackle, worked Saturday morning at right guard. The back-up OL consisted of LT Winston, LG Beau Baker, C Will Allen, RG Garr and RT Randall. . . .

Starting FB Matt Trissel missed practice because of an infection and is listed by the UT training staff as day-to-day. With Trissel out, Will Matthews took the first-team snaps, while Edwards and true freshman Albert Hardy worked with the back-ups. Although worked almost exclusively at fullback today, Hardy will work at both tailback and fullback during August, Brown said. . . .

With Eric Hall (see Hot News) and McFarland spun down to DE, the back-up LB reps went almost exclusively to the five true freshmen 'backers. Aaron Harris and Brian Robison worked at MLB while Garnet Smith and Marcus Myers worked at WILL and Mike Williams worked at SAM. Walk-on Stevie Stigall also took snaps at SAM. . . .

Bryan Pickryl, after missing spring while recovering from a shoulder injury, participated in his first practice as a Longhorn, taking back-up snaps at both right and left DE. Kalen Thornton, who is rehabbing from off-season knee surgery, did not participate. As at the close of spring, Austin Sendlein worked with the starting defensive unit at RDE and Chase Pittman provided back-up at the spot. Kaelen Jakes also took snaps Saturday at RDE. . . .

Miguel McKay worked with the first unit alongside definite starter Marcus Tubbs. All three true freshmen D-linemen -- Larry Dibbles, Rodrique Wright and Tully Janszen -- rotated in with the second defensive unit along with vets Stevie Lee and Adam Doiron. . . .

Highlight reel play of the day: Vince Young lofted a perfect strike just over defender Rufus Harris to classmate Robert Timmons for a 45-yard TD pass-and-catch during 11-on-11 work. Strong safety Michael Huff also picked off a Chance Mock pass during 11-on-11 work. Reed Boyd and Sendlein, who beat Winston off the edge, pressured Mock on the play, forcing the errant throw in Huff's direction. . . .

The sign reads: 21 days until North Texas.

[Editor's note: Please be sure to check out the Hot News section of the website for more on today's first full-squad practice.]


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