Davis Tinkering with the O-Line

Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis can play as many as 14 offensive linemen without significant drop-off this season. He has also begun to cross-train several key members of the youthful-but-talented bunch.

Most of the flip-flopping is among key back-ups.

"There's been some changes and moving around after they get their foundation," Davis said Tuesday. "We're looking for position flexibility. The more things they can do to help us take care of any injuries later, the better."

RS-sophomore Buck Burnette (6-3, 320) is working at both center and guard, RS-sophomore Britt Mitchell (6-5, 300) is seeing snaps at both guard and tackle, RS-sophomore Greg Smith (6-4, 295) is getting time at tackle, guard and TE.

"(Smith) is a big-body and he's played out there (TE) before," Davis said. "He has a good understanding of everything. He gives us an anchor in some of our two-back sets and two-tight end sets."

Texas went with two-TE sets just under 20 percent of the time last season.

"We like the formation because it tends to balance defenses," Davis continued. "It forces them to eliminate some of the things they do. It's just going to depend whether or not we can play it as much this year as we have in the past."

If the season were to begin today, the starting offensive front would shape up as junior LT Adam Ulatoski, junior LG Charlie Tanner, junior C Chris Hall, senior RG Cedric Dockery and sophomore RT Kyle Hix.

Barring attrition, and given the class of beef expected to sign with Texas in February, the offensive front should rank among the program's best for several years. For now, this year's group has a chance to compare with a couple of Mack Brown's top units (1998, 2005).

"Both of those lines were veterans and gave us the ability to do a lot of different things. This (2008) line is going to be really good. Cedric is our only senior, so there's still a lot of youth in it. They're still learning each other's chemistry, but this line is going to be really good."

TUESDAY PRACTICE NOTES

Davis' emphases Tuesday morning was blitz pick-ups along with down-and-distance situations, namely third-and-short, third-and-long and goal line.

The Horns are set to play a closed scrimmage Wednesday at DKR.

"I'm really pleased with where we're right at right now," Davis concluded. "We've just got to keep working as we head downhill toward the home opener."


(Will Gallagher/Inside Texas)


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