Full Speed Ahead

Early Wednesday morning the Texas Longhorns got up and put on the pads for their first full-speed scrimmage on the season in Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium. Afterwards, offensive coordinator Greg Davis and defensive coordinator Duane Akina talked about what they saw from both their entrenched starters and up-and-comers battling for playing time.

Fall was in the air at Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium on Wednesday as the Texas Longhorns geared up and went at it in their first full scrimmage of the season.

The scrimmage began with the offense running multiple 3rd-and-7 plays against the defense because of the importance of being able to convert in a tough situation. Offensive coordinator Greg Davis was happy with what he saw from his offense to start out.

"We feel like we converted several of those, which is always a tough pick up, and then we put the ball down and we played."

Once the scrimmage did get going, there were several offensive players who immediately stood out to Davis.

"Vondrell McGee had some nice runs," said Davis. "John Chiles had a nice run and Limas Sweed, during the limited time he was in there, had some nice catches. Those things were encouraging to see for a first scrimmage."

Sweed wasn't the only vet whose snaps were limited in the scrimmage. Quarterback Colt McCoy only played about 14 snaps, according to Davis, because of the importance of preparing Chiles, who has been thrust into the backup role due to Sherrod Harris' knee injury.

"We have to accelerate the curve because we're closing in on the season," said Davis of the work his freshman QB is getting.

Davis spoke repeatedly about the importance of getting Chiles ready to go, but wouldn't go as far as naming the freshman QB as definitively his No. 2 guy.

"We won't make that decision until closer to the season," said Davis. "On the week of the first game (head coach) Mack (Brown) will put out a depth chart."

Another place on that depth chart where there are some questions is the offensive line. According to Davis, the second team offensive line got about an equal number of snaps as the first team, but the two teams were arranged differently at times so that some of the less experienced guys were out there more than the vets.

"Tony Hills is a returning starter, Adam Ulatoski is a returning starter and we've got to find out what Tray Allen and Kyle Hix and those other guys can do and the only way to do that is to put them out there without the coaches and see what they know," said Davis.

With the amount youth up front, Texas will likely play at least two true freshmen on the offensive line this season, an exceptional rarity for a Mack Brown-coached team. The question now is will the young linemen be ready to go on September 1st.

"Well they better be ready by the first game," said Davis. "It's not going to change. We're going to play it on that day. Some of 'em have to play this year and we've got to find which ones and how much they can help."

Quarterback and offensive line are question areas, at least when it comes to depth, but the one place where that's not a concern in the least is wide receiver and once again the wideouts looked strong.

Texas typically runs with a standard rotation of five or six receivers, but the depth is sufficient in 2007 that quarterback Colt McCoy could be making meaningful throws to as many as seven different wideouts. However, which players who will fill in those last two spots behind the five experienced receivers remains to be seen.

"We don't know right now," said Davis. "We don't have a definitive depth chart, but we want to have six or seven guys we feel comfortable with and Colt feels comfortable with."

Davis said true freshmen wide receivers Brandon Collins, James Kirkendoll and Malcolm Williams each have a great shot at cracking that rotation and they looked good in the scrimmage, especially considering how young they are.

"I think there are some young receivers that will certainly get in the mix," said Davis. "Collins, Kirkendoll and Williams have all done some nice things and they're real smart. They're picking it up quick."

Over on the defensive side of the ball, there are plenty of position battles being waged, most notably at linebacker and in the secondary.

Defensive coordinator Duane Akina said he is very happy with how the DBs played in Wednesday's scrimmage, especially the four senior safeties.

"Drew (Kelson), Marcus (Griffin), I thought all four of our safeties played really well," said Akina.

The position where there's most youth is cornerback. The depth chart isn't set yet and Akina said that right now he's not throwing a lot at his young guys, scheme-wise, and just wants to see who his most sound players are.

"We've installed our defense, but right now we're not into seeing who can handle a whole bunch. Right now we just want to see who can line up and play fundamental football," said Akina.

The position he was most happy with, however, was linebacker. The depth at LB is what impresses Akina the most heading into the season and he said there will be a lot of linebackers seeing playing time because of it.

"We can play with six guys right now," said Akina.

SLB Sergio Kindle was suspended for the first three games of the season following his DUI arrest, but Akina wouldn't say who the sixth player replacing Kindle is yet, but he knows they need the backups at linebacker to step up because of the importance of the position.

"In the past we've had some more defensive backs so we got into more dime packages," said Akina. "That (the linebackers) is a veteran corps, so you'll probably see them on the field more than six defensive backs."

Which of those linebackers are standing out right now?

"All of the above, they're all performing well," said Akina. "I hate to sound political, but you've got to call it how you see it."

One of the reasons the linebackers have been playing so well in practice, according to Akina, is the great coaching each one has received in their tenure at Texas.

"You look at the guys who have worked with these linebackers over the last four years in (Greg) Robinson, (Gene) Chizik and (Larry) Mac Duff. They've been a very fortunate crew," said Akina.

When pressed for a name, Akina conceded that one of his most experienced and hardest working players has continued to shine.

"(Rashad) Bobino really showed up, very active," said Akina. "All those reps have really mattered over the last couple of years just settling him in as the Mike (middle) 'backer."

The Longhorns scrimmage again on Saturday at DKR and it will be open to the public. The scrimmage starts at 7:30 a.m. and players will be available for autographs at 10:30 a.m.

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