Two Stars on the Rise for Texas

Two Longhorn backups have certainly raised eyebrows so far during the preseason. Texas coach Mack Brown said they are not necessarily surprises, but ‘pluses'. Who did Brown single out as August camp nears the midway point?

They would be RB Chris Ogbonnaya and O-lineman Chris Hall.

"If I just took two guys off the top of my head," Brown said, "(Ogbonnaya) and Chris Hall have been the two guys that have jumped out and excited us, short-term, in the practices that we've had."

Ogbonnaya has been raising eyebrows since his solid showing last spring. The junior has apparently locked down the job as RB Jamaal Charles' primary understudy and continues to impress.

"Chris has been running more physical than he ever has," Brown said. "He's a guy that has played safety, and quarterback, and has returned kicks (in high school) and came in here as a receiver. Then he played fullback, so he's been a journeyman. He can catch, He can block. He's experienced. He's confident. He's in great shape. We're really excited about him. I think he'll help Jamaal but, at the same time, he can do everything. He's protecting the ball better. He understands, now, that he can't play that position without holding on to the ball. He's developing into a team leader."

Ogbonnaya, having played every position under the sun, is now locked in as Charles' backup

Hall has been everywhere Longhorn fans would want him to be on an offensive front that replaces its interior. The sophomore is training at both guard positions as well as center.

"He is really playing well," Brown noted. "We're excited about the progress he's made. We've got to be careful not to work him to death because he's playing so much and so hard. He has really been a guy who has jumped out this fall and will get significant playing time."

Hall (71) will help provide strong depth in the interior line, according to Brown

Hall is a left guard on the depth chart, but provides depth at center until RS-freshman Buck Burnette returns (undisclosed medical condition). Fifth-year senior Dallas Griffin opened with the Ones last spring, but was strongly pushed by Burnette.

"We still think Buck will be back and play this year," Brown continued. "Center is like a quarterback: you can lose them fast and you can never have enough. But Chris could line up and play center today. He or Dallas could start."

Ordinarily, Brown prefers to redshirt offensive linemen, but given the attrition along the offensive front, four true freshmen (Tray Allen, Michael Huey, Kyle Hix, Aundre McGaskey) will likely factor into the rotation.

"It's so unusual to have young offensive linemen that you're preparing to play," Brown said. "All four of those young offensive linemen have a chance to play."

The Horns practice Tuesday afternoon at Denius Fields.

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