Aaron Williams Expected to Get Increased Looks - One of the three defensive objectives for the spring is to create more turnovers. Aaron Williams looks to be an integral part of that plan as he is listed as a co-starter (with Deon Beasley) at left corner and the back-up at nickel to Earl Thomas. If the nickel package is run as essentially the base defense, then that also means that Christian Scott would be the second safety.
Role Change for Sergio Kindle? - Kindle is the listed starter at Buck defensive end, which is the same position that Brian Orakpo flourished in last season. While Kindle will work primarily at Buck DE in the spring, the coaches are expecting that Kindle will play SAM linebacker and defensive end during the season as down and distance dictates – similar to how he was played last year. The goal of having him primarily practice with his hand on the ground this spring revolves around the fact that he did not get a chance last spring to refine his technique as he was out. It also gives Keenan Robinson a chance to work at the SAM linebacker spot with the first team.
Coach Muschamp noted, "I don't think that his (Kindle's) role is changing. We just need to get him more comfortable playing out of the three-point stance. He is going to continue to do the things he did last year. There is not a whole of changes as far as he is concerned."
Greg Smith is a tight end…again. - The Montgomery, Texas redshirt junior is back to playing tight end after contributing on the offensive line at all five positions. Smith started the 2008 season at offensive tackle after switching from tight end to center in the 2007 season. Last season, after Blaine Irby's season ending injury, Smith moved back to tight end. Offensive coordinator Greg Davis said that Smith is down to 265 and will only play tight end this season.
Spring is the time to experiment - Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp plans on experimenting with a lot of guys at different positions on the field.
"I look at spring as a time to experiment – to look at different things, to get guys at different spots, because if you don't ever try, you don't ever know. So we're going to move guys around just like we did last spring to try to find the best combination of eleven guys in those situations to help the football team improve."
Linebackers as rush ends? - Given the lack of depth at defensive end, it sounds like several linebackers will be given the opportunity in the spring to showcase their pass rushing skills with their hand on the ground. Starting MIKE linebacker Jared Norton and back-up WILL linebacker Emmanuel Acho will both be given looks as rush ends. Given the number of passing offenses in the Big 12, the defense is looking to find as many players that can rush the passer as possible.
Walking Wounded – The Longhorns will be without ten players through the spring practices. Those players are P Trevor Garland (right knee), TE Blaine Irby (right knee), DL Dominique Jones (right shoulder), DE Eddie Jones (right ankle), WR Jordan Shipley (right shoulder), CB Kenny Vaccaro (right knee), DS Alex Zumberge (left shoulder), DT Jarvis Humphrey (kidney), TE Josh Marshall (will return for second half in "no contact" role), and S Ishie Oduegwa.
Oduegwa, who is currently rehabbing an injury, has decided to give up football after a series of injuries. The senior safety played in 25 career games and started three games.
Offensive Line is Plug and Play - The offensive line has a lot of familiar faces with four returning starters. Last season's back-up right guard Michael Huey has ascended to the top spot after Cedric Dockery graduated. The starting five from left to right will Adam Ulatoski (30 career starts), Charlie Tanner (19), Chris Hall (23), Michael Huey (3), and Kyle Hix (14). David Snow, the true sophomore who started two games last season replacing an injured Chris Hall, looks to be the primary back-up at the interior spots.