Practice News and Notes

Several thousand fans braved muggy conditions Wednesday night to take in the first of two open practices. Here are some things that they saw.

* Mason Walters worked out at right guard in Tray Allen's absence. The redshirt freshman showed flashes of his talent, even earning a few pancake blocks in a scrimmage without full pads on. Texas coaches have said that Allen will miss all of camp, though there hasn't been a timetable set for his return.

* Christian Scott set the tone for a lively scrimmage by belting tight end Greg Smith with a huge hit on the first play. Scott is one of the frontrunners for the strong safety position vacated by Earl Thomas's departure to the NFL, and the 210-pound junior has performed well thus far. Junior free safety Blake Gideon credited Scott following the practice, stating that there had been "very little drop off" in performance from Thomas to Scott. To Smith's credit, the senior held on to the ball for a nice first-down catch.

* Several true freshmen stood out for their athleticism and their play. Linebacker Jordan Hicks has nice size and excellent fluidity and quickness in and out of his breaks. He made a couple plays on the sideline in the scrimmage, indicative of his range and ability. Receiver Mike Davis made a few nice catches and earned praise from the veterans for his work in practice. Defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat made a nice play when he broke into the backfield and hit fellow freshman Traylon Shead before Shead could get going. And Shead did a nice job of getting downhill on his runs.

* Cody Johnson appears to be in the shape of his life, a thought backed up by his fellow backfield mates.

"Cody just looks great," Foswhitt Whitaker said.

Johnson not only ran with his typical ferocity, but he showed nice burst downfield, on one play catching a short pass, getting the corner and putting his shoulder into cornerback Chykie Brown, who didn't back down either. Johnson's emergence, along with Shead's play and Chris Whaley's versatility, gives the Longhorns plenty of options at running back beyond top backs Tre' Newton and Whitaker.

* Case McCoy earned the first set of reps with the No. 2s, with he and fellow freshman Connor Wood rotating in with that group. Both had their moments, with McCoy helping to provide one of the offense's top plays. McCoy lofted a pass downfield that appeared to be too high before sophomore DeSean Hales went up and pulled down a leaping catch.

* Texas still showed plenty of shotgun looks, and mostly operated with three wide receivers. The No. 1 unit featured James Kirkendoll, Malcolm Williams and John Chiles. Marquise Goodwin also worked with the 1s. Williams had one of the top plays when he hauled in a long pass from quarterback Garrett Gilbert and raced down the sideline for a touchdown.

* The scrimmage featured chippy play from the wide receivers and cornerbacks, who have been after each other all summer. Aaron Williams said after the practice that most of the jawing was instructive, telling the receivers to do a better job getting off the line or catching the ball.

"It's more than just talking mess," Williams said. "We want them to get better, and they want us to get better."

Williams spoke to media members sporting a mohawk, a ‘do donned by all the defensive backs in a sign of unity.

"I think we all look good in it, honestly," Williams said.

Williams said he didn't really listen to the perception that the defense was going to have to carry the offense at times this season.

"We might have an off night or two where they will have to take over for us," Williams said.

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