Two weeks until Rice ...

Preseason practice is about halfway though, with the 2010 Longhorn team starting to take shape.

"The guys are really tired. A lot of pulls, some sore ankles, sore shoulders, everybody is sore and tired and you're still at the point where you don't see the opening of the season coming too quickly," said Texas Coach Mack Brown.

At his weekly press conference, Brown shared his thoughts on both players and staff members as the Longhorns sit just two weeks from the season opener against Rice.

* On Wednesday's scrimmage

Brown called the scrimmamge "just OK." He said there were some standout performances, and some great plays, but said the players didn't start and finish with enough enthusiasm.

"This is not a team that is full of experience," Brown said. "There's enough inexperience in key spots that they're going to have to play hard every play. We thought they played hard, but they didn't show the enthusiasm we like for an opening scrimmage."

With that inexperience, especially on both lines, Brown said that injuries remained a key concern, with coaches keeping an eye on how hard to push the players.

* On cross-training players

In part to help with injuries, Brown said the coaches were looking at opportunities to cross-train players at multiple positions, aiding in building key depth.

Sophomore Ryan Roberson is working at both linebacker and fullback, while freshman Demarco Cobbs will spend the next couple weeks training at safety. Cobbs has been slowed by a pulled hamstring in camp.

"Our commitment to him was that we would look at him on both sides of the ball when he came to see where is best position might be," Brown said.

Sophomore Dravannti Johnson is training at both defensive end and SAM linebacker. He has provided a pass rush and has become part of the Longhorns' main group at linebacker with Emmanuel Acho, Keenan Robinson and Dustin Earnest.

* On standout players

Brown had great reviews for players like quarterback Garrett Gilbert and tight end Ahmard Howard, who is playing "the best he has since he got here." Gilbert stood out for both his leadership and his willingness to check down to the open receiver.

Luke Poehlmann was singled out for his work at tackle, getting into the mix at that position. Brown said the Longhorns currently had three tackles that they felt were ready to go, with starters Kyle Hix and Britt Mitchell, along with Poehlmann. True freshman Trey Hopkins also impressed with his mobility and intelligence.

Junior Kheeston Randall drew comparisons to Lamarr Houston, with Brown stating that Randall had the size, length, mobility and talent to make a major impact.

"He's what you want," Brown said.

Brown also praised Christian Scott, joking that the coaches had to tell him to back off in practice so that he wouldn't hurt his fellow Longhorns.

Three special teamers earned mention as well, with Justin Tucker, John Gold and William Russ listed as standouts. Tucker is handling the kickoff duties.

* On the defensive tackles

Texas would like to have a rotation of four tackles, Brown said, and the Longhorns don't have that luxury as of yet.

But the good news is that Brown said the Longhorns might not have to start off the season with four ready-to-go guys. The first two weeks will feature games against opponents who won't necessarily pound the ball at Texas, allowing the tackles extra time to get game-ready.

* On the running game

Brown continued to praise Cody Johnson for his work in joining Tre' Newton and Fozzy Whittaker in the running back rotation. But at the same time, he said that both Newton and Whittaker had put together strong camps and continued to improve.

"The other two are still playing really well," Brown said. "They've done a great job."

Those players have had some running room thanks in part of the left side of Kyle Hix and Michael Huey, who have created more space when operating from a three-point stance.

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