Longhorn Practice Observations

Spring football is here at last and Inside Texas is on the scene. IT takes you through the notable events and sights of the beginning of spring practice, including standout performances and who the current starters are.

Practice Observations

-When the offense got together for the first time, Texas clearly defined the current starting line-up on the depth chart, at least among the healthy players. When Colt McCoy came out for the first snap of practice, this was the offense he led (keep in mind LT Adam Ulatoski and FB Antwan Cobb were both off to the side rehabbing injuries):

LT - Tray Allen
LG - Charlie Tanner
C - Chris Hall
RG - Cedric Dockery
RT - Kyle Hix
WR - Jordan Shipley
WR - Quan Cosby
RB - Vondrell McGee
FB - Luke Tiemann
QB - Colt McCoy

-Amusingly, one of my first thoughts when I saw the wide receivers was, "Hey, what's Limas Sweed still doing...oh, that's not Limas Sweed." It was Dan Buckner in the No. 4 jersey. He looks like Sweed did when he left Texas. Sweed was a much thinner receiver when he arrived at Texas than Buckner is. Honestly, the freshman enrollee has more of the bigger, Roy Williams-type body build than the lankier Limas. He dropped a couple of balls, but showed why he was one of the top wide receivers in the country, making some nice catches along the sideline and deep down the middle.

-The best receiver of the practice, though, was Shipley. The senior (but likely medical redshirt recipient) showed why Vince Young called him "ESPN", snagging everything thrown at him, even in traffic. Cosby also had a nice workout, as did Malcolm Williams, who may lay claim to the starting split end role.

-Every time the quarterbacks lined up to throw, it served as a continual reminder of why McCoy is the starting quarterback on this team. He was accurate throughout the day while Sherrod Harris, John Chiles and G.J. Kinne had accuracy issues. They each had some nice throws, but they couldn't put them in with the consistency McCoy displayed.

-And speaking of Kinne...the redshirt freshman quarterback finally managed to hit me. He'd been trying to hit me with a football since last August when, on the first day of practice, he whizzed an errant ball right by my head. Friday he finally landed one. The ball struck me in the upper thigh, knocking me off balance and certainly surprising me. My fault for not looking while I was talking to Clendon. I'll say this, Kinne can put some zip on the ball. Ow.

-I was on the far practice field, watching the offensive line work, but I could still hear Muschamp yelling at the linebackers.

-Once again, there was a large group of rehabbing players off to side on exercise bikes or in the sand pit. Ulatoski, Sergio Kindle, Eddie Jones, Curtis Brown, Cobb, Ishie Oduegwu and others all worked out separate from the rest of the team.

-I enjoyed seeing Major Applewhite throwing the football again. He was working with his running backs on catching the ball out of the backfield and the quarterbacks were off doing something else, so he picked up the ball and started doing the throws himself. He spent some additional time working on it one-on-one with Foswhitt Whittaker. It just seemed funny seeing him back out on the field throwing, except this time he was wearing a visor instead of a helmet.

-Deon Beasley looks ready to take over as a starting corner. He intercepted McCoy by jumping an out-route and took the ball the distance. His timing is looking even better and this could be a big year for him. Ryan Palmer will likely be starting opposite of him, but Chykie Brown had some nice moments and showed why some players and coaches have talked him up. Safety, however, was another story. The position is pretty much up in the air, but because of injuries and lack of players at the position, there were only two scholarship safeties, Ben Wells and Blake Gideon, going through all the drills. Because of this, corner Earl Thomas spent some time at safety.

-The starters along the defensive line were Lamarr Houston, Roy Miller, Ben Alexander and Brian Orakpo, but Aaron Lewis is rehabbing a shoulder injury right now. Linebacker was harder to tell because of the mixing of players at the position. Keenan Robinson saw a lot of action -- Robinson, by the way, has put on some serious size. He looks like Derrick Johnson. -- Dravannti Johnson went back and forth between linebacker and defensive end. Plus, we saw a lot of nickel package, with only two linebackers. In those sets, Roddrick Muckelroy and Rashad Bobino were the starters, with Jared Norton switching with Bobino frequently. Kindle, of course, was with the rehabbers.

It was a good first day of practice and it's always exciting to see this team back out on the field. I'll give my observations of the second practice as well.

Also: Clendon Ross' Practice Notes and Observations


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