Jumbo Package - The short yardage jumbo package is starting to take shape with back-up swing tackle playing one tight end spot while Greg Smith and Ahmard Howard are battling for the second tight end spot. The H-back spot, who typically motions to overload the side the team is running to, is being manned by Antwan Cobb and backed-up by Barrett Matthews. The fullback in that package is starting defensive tackle Lamarr Houston and the running back is Cody Johnson.
Return of the Q Package? - No, but the offense is looking at creating a special package for D.J. Monroe from the running back position. As reported earlier in the week, Monroe is working out at both the wide receiver and running back positions. Greg Davis is looking to install a package to emphasize the former 4A state 100-meter track champion's blazing speed out of the backfield.
Mason Walters soaking at Guard - The Burnt Orange Beat #1 player in Texas in 2009 is making waves for the Longhorns. Walters is playing right guard only for the Horns this year in an effort to ease him into the speed of the college game. He is pushing hard to be in the rotation this year and his camp performance is one of the reasons that Tray Allen is also getting looks on the defensive side of the ball. This spring Davis says Walters will likely be looked at for a tackle spot.
Tight end madness - After losing tight ends Blaine Irby, DJ Grant, and Ian Harris for the season, the team is still searching for players who can play with their hand on the ground. Brenham redshirt sophomore Ahmard Howard is pushing redshirt junior Greg Smith for the starting spot, but the reality is that the team is not looking for much in the passing game from the attached end spot. When the Horns want to throw to the tight end, look for wide out Dan Buckner to play the flex tight end. True freshman Barrett Matthews can also play both tight end spots.
Tray Allen experiment at DT is working - DC Will Muschamp likes what he sees from the first eight days of the Tray Allen cross training at defensive tackle. Muschamp said, "He has done a nice job when he has been in there. He's a big body. He eats blockers. That's really what you want in there." The staff wants to have five DTs in the rotation. Lamarr Houston, Ben Alexander, and Kheeston Randall have three locked down, so Allen has a shot at the last two spots with Higgins, Howell, Johnson, and even Tevin Mims who has also had some work inside. If Allen were not to make the top five, he would return to offense but still be available in an emergency role.
Earl Thomas for the Thorpe? - Let's not get crazy this year, but he has certainly raised his game quite a bit and has even separated himself from the rest of the very talented backfield. He is also filling a vocal leadership role on the defense with Lamarr Houston. Thomas, like many of the best playmakers on defense, will be moving all over the field including his starting safety spot and the nickel cover spot. He has a chance to wreak havoc as a blitzer from that spot and as a cover guy.
Nickel Package - With the opponents that Texas has on the schedule, the nickel package will again likely be the "base" defensive package. Earl Thomas and Aaron Williams are both playing the nickel at a very high level. When Thomas is at the slot, Christian Scott will most likely take his safety spot. When Williams plays the nickel, Curtis Brown takes over his corner spot. The requirements for the nickel corner are to be a good support guy who can tackle, a good blitzer, and a good cover guy. With an eye on the future, true freshman Marcus Davis is also learning that nickel spot.