Wednesday scrimmage notes and highlights

Notes and highlights from the Horns' Wednesday scrimmage:

Fans on hand at Royal-Memorial Stadium Wednesday for the final scrimmage of the pre-season probably did not see what pleased head coach Mack Brown the most. Hint: it was the performance of the guys you only notice if they mess up.

LT Robbie Doane, LG Tillman Holloway, C Jason Glynn, RG Derrick Dockery and RTs Alfio Randall-Veasey and Jonathan Scott: take a bow!

It all starts with the big uglies up front, and the Texas offensive line is looking better than it has in recent years, according to Brown.

"Our first-team offensive line is knocking people off their backs," Brown said. "I don’t think I’ve seen our line play this well since Ricky (Williams) was here."

On Wednesday, offensive coordinator Greg Davis added more option plays, play-action passes, reverses, and five-man spreads than in previous scrimmages (Brown said it’s a way to keep honest "blitz crazy" defenses).

After RB Cedric Benson’s three-yard plunge up the middle netted three yards, SE Roy Williams (two steps ahead of the nearest defender) dropped what would have been a 20-yard gain after the ball hit him in the hands.

"Roy’s got a lot of chips in the bank with us," Brown said. "That should make him come back tomorrow more focused."

Chris Simms then found TE Chad Stevens over the middle for a 19-yard pickup, followed by 17-yard completion to B.J. Johnson off a play action pass that set up the first-team offense on the 26 yardline. It was essentially ‘See Cedric Run’ for the remainder of the drive. Seven straight Benson carries resulted in first-and-goal from the one. From there, Simms faked the dive to Benson, tucked the ball away and rolled left for a one-yard touchdown run. (It was the fourth play-action pass play of the 12-play, 65-yard drive).

On the night, Simms was 5-of-6 passing for 73 yards and one rushing TD while Benson contributed a workman-like 28 yards on eight carries, all on the first offensive series.

With backup Chance Mock under center, the second-team offense drove to near midfield on the heels of an 11-yard screen pass to Tony Jeffery followed by a 12-yard completion over to middle to WR Richard Hightower but, facing a third-and-three from his own 48, Mock was thrown for a nine-yard loss by SLB Lee Jackson. The sophomore QB finished 3-of-10 on the evening for 36 yards.

Defensively, the night belonged to free safety Rufus Harris. The redshirt freshman led all tacklers with five and supplied the hit of the evening. On the third offensive series, Simms found Johnson over the middle for a 19-yard completion, setting up what would have been a first-and-goal had it not been for Harris’ jarring blow. (An "awesome lick", in Brown’s own words). LCB Cedric Griffin recovered the loose ball and returned it five yards.

The head coach had mixed feelings about the play.

"Usually when there is a bad play from scrimmage, there is a great play from the other team," Brown said. "The problem with being a head coach is you go home and try to figure all this out. I don’t know who to be mad at."

You get the impression, though, that Brown wants Johnson to make that grab.

"Our first team offense had 20 great plays and two bad plays," Brown said. "We had that one dropped ball (Roy Williams) and one turnover (B.J. Johnson). We can’t win all of our games if we continue to do that."

NO SURPRISE: Selvin Young is Preseason’s Biggest Surprise

Now that true freshman Selvin Young has been Texas’ leading rusher in each of its three preseason scrimmages (as well as securing a spot as deep return man alongside Ivan Williams on the No. 1 kick-off return team), it’s little wonder that Brown said the speedster from Houston Jersey Village is the most pleasant surprise of two-a-days.

"Selvin was someone who really jumped out at us," Brown said. "Every time he goes in, he does very well. He’s much improved in his blocking, he runs his (pass) routes well, and he’s just tough."

Young had a 90-yard kick-off return for a touchdown in the Aug. 17 scrimmage and also saw action as a punt returner late in Wednesday’s scrimmage.

"Usually I don’t put freshman back there," Brown said.

Although Vasher solidified his spot as the first-team punt return specialist with a 59-yard score following the fourth offensive series of Wednesday’s scrimmage, Young continues to remind fans of Vasher in ways other than the fact they both share the same jersey number (3).

"Somebody came up to Nathan on Fan Appreciation Day (Sunday), handed him an autograph book and said, ‘Hey, Selvin. Sign this’," laughed Brown, who has the enviable problem is finding playing time for the upstart freshman.

"We’ve already got a good running back," Brown said. "Do you want me to set Cedric (Benson) down?"

No, but look for Young to be a go-to guy in option situations. Brown said Monday he wanted to see more option plays in his arsenal. The first time Texas ran the option Wednesday, Mock optioned to Young who darted up the left sideline for an 8-yard gain.


Texas’ last (open to the public) practice of the preseason is set for 10:45 a.m., Thursday, at Frank Denius field. There, Texas will finally turn its full attention to preparing for the home opener against North Texas, Aug. 31.

The annual Texas Football Women’s Clinic is slated for 6 p.m., Thursday, at the Texas Club on the east side of Royal-Memorial Stadium. The event includes instruction from Mack Brown, appearances by selected Longhorn players, finger foods and door prizes. The cost is $25.

All practices will be closed to the public starting Monday, Aug. 26. Classes start August 28.


Redshirt freshman offensive RT Jonathan Scott, coming off of a hamstring injury, returned to practice Wednesday and rotated with Alfio Randall-Veasey at the starting right tackle spot. True freshman MLB Aaron Harris also returned after being sidelined 10 days with a mild concussion (see Hot News). FS Kendal Briles is out for an undetermined length of time after suffering a severe left ankle injury in Monday’s practice. Walk-on linebacker Brad Price underwent surgery Tuesday after suffering a broken tibia and fibula last Friday.

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