Davis Sets Timetable for Naming Backup QB

For nearly eight months, Texas coaches have said settling on a backup QB was one of the preseason's primary tasks. Three days into August camp, offensive coordinator Greg Davis already knows when that decision would, ideally, be made.

"What we're going to try to do is through the first 10 or 11 days, make a decision on who's Two," Davis said following Wednesday's workout.

It means that, in Davis' perfect world, he would know by the end of next week if RS-freshman Sherrod Harris or true freshman John Chiles had staked his claim as Colt McCoy's understudy. Understandably, it will be difficult for either backup to get separation until after the team dons pads on Friday. Yet, coaches have said the decision will be based primarily on accuracy, ball security, managing the huddle and team chemistry.

There is absolutely no mistaking that this is Colt McCoy's team. Davis gushed over McCoy's maturation Wednesday, but Defensive Coordinator Duane Akina provided the best synopsis of McCoy's progress: "He can drop the ball into a fish bowl from 50 yards out." (And that type of accuracy, Akina noted, is ideal for training-up a fresh set of DBs).

Both Harris and Chiles demonstrated their adeptness at running the Zone Read during the Orange-White scrimmage, but Davis said Wednesday there would be less reliance on that scheme in 2007. Harris opened with the Twos that day, but Brown attributed that to Harris' additional year in the system. Harris is extremely bright (3.9 GPA at Arlington Bowie) and exceptionally tough (secretly playing with a torn meniscus during his senior season). His 4,321 career passing yards set a school record and ranks No. 3 all-time in Arlington ISD history, leading to All-District honors for three consecutive seasons. Meanwhile, Chiles was a prep All-American and two-time District 4-5A MVP. The U.S. Army All-American Bowl participant played QB, WR and RB in high school, accounting for 2,056 yards passing, 1,248 yards rushing, 694 yards receiving and 56 TDs during his final two seasons.

Add to the mix two-time Texas 3A Offensive Player of the Year G.J. Kinne. The true freshman finished his prep star career at Gilmer, but not before his 11,695 passing yards ranked No. 3 and 130 TD passes ranked No. 2 in Texas high school football history.

"G.J. Kinne has shown that he's a really good talent," Davis said. "He's going to be a really good player."

There was some speculation two weeks ago, based upon how to interpret remarks head coach Mack Brown privately made at the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days, that coaches wanted Chiles to move to WR. The Mansfield product was originally recruited as a receiver but enrolled early with the specific intent of landing the job as McCoy's top backup.

"He's made great improvement since the spring," Davis said of Chiles, "and he's tremendously gifted. We've got to find a No. 2 quarterback and, if he's that guy, then obviously he needs to be there. If not, with his talent, we've got to think about something else. We told John that it was his decision about whether or not he was going to stay at quarterback or look at wide receiver. Right now, he's totally at the quarterback position."

In other words, there is no thought of cross-training Chiles at both spots.

"To ask him to meet one day here, and one day there, I think what we would get, as my daddy would say, 'half-of-nothing'."

There is also very little possibility that coaches would try to get all three QBs quality snaps in a ballgame.

"It's really hard to work with three," Davis said. "When you get to game-week and you start cutting back on reps, it's all you can do to get two ready. Three is impossible."

As such, the possibility remains that Chiles could redshirt if he is determined to play quarterback.

"It is certainly possible that John could redshirt," Davis continued. "Our players always factor into that decision, but Coach Brown is looking at a bigger picture. But we want our players involved in that decision."

The Horns return to practice at 6:45 p.m. (CDT) at Denius Fields.

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