Texas Camp Notebook

Head Coach Mack Brown met with the media today to discuss the first five days of practice, his thoughts on the team, and some specific position battles. Brown also sees some separation in the running back race and a surprise number two wide out. Additionally, he discussed options at tight end.

The Texas Longhorns will wrap up the first five days of August camp this evening with another spirited night practice. Heading into the eighth practice for the coaches and the fifth for each player (the team had split squads the first three days), the Texas head man has seen some successes and disappointments.

MASH Report - After managing to avoid the injury bug throughout the summer (everyone was cleared to play heading into camp), several injuries have popped up in the first week. Obviously, expected starting tight end D.J. Grant was lost on Wednesday evening with a season-ending knee injury. In addition, freshman running back Chris Whaley and senior corner Deon Beasley have both been nursing minor hamstring injuries.

Separation at Running Back - One of the big question marks entering both spring and August camp was whether one of the running backs would step up and grab the starting position. The good news is two backs have stepped up: Vondrell McGee and Foswhitt Whitaker. The questions for the remainder of camp will be can one of those two separate himself further and can Cody Johnson prove to be more than just a situational, short yardage runner.

Number Two Receiver? - Last year, Quan Cosby and Jordan Shipley produced the best receiving tandem season in the history of Texas football. With Cosby off to the NFL, Shipley is looking for his new wingman and many figured Garland's Malcolm Williams was next in line. However, Brown pointed out at that junior Round Rock native wide out James Kirkendoll has shown the consistent excellence to be that solid number two receiver. Kirkendoll also has the ability to play every wide out position on the field if injury or match-ups call for a switch. Perhaps not so coincidentally, Shipley can also play every wide out spot.

Kicking Game is Special - Through five days of practice, Justin Tucker, Ryan Bailey, and Hunter Lawrence have made every field goal attempt. Brown is also quick to point out that both rugby-style punter (and now ambidextrous) Justin Tucker and John Gold both averaged over 45 yards per punt last season.

Kickoff Return Options are plentiful - Perhaps as many as six players are competing to return kickoffs including Jordan Shipley (likely very limited in KOR game), Malcolm Williams, Aaron Williams, Christian Scott, D.J. Monroe, and freshman Marquise Goodwin and potentially even DeSean Hales

For more of Friday's notes, see the full message board post.

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