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horn sports roustabouts! early friday morning 08-aug-14 - UPDATE #1


monarch
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11:29p - tuesday evening practice update:

https://texas.rivals.com/showmsg.asp?fid=500&tid=202942939&mid=202942939&sid=902&style=2

 

Tuesday practice notes ... more shuffling of the starting O-line Reply

Orangebloods spoke with a couple sources this evening to get some notes on the Longhorns' Tuesday practice. These were a few of the notes passed on. 

- Tuesday was the first day of mixed practices with both the veterans and the freshmen. The team is still practicing without any pads, wearing shorts, jerseys and helmets. 

- One source mentioned it was brutally hot on the Denius practice fields for Tuesday's session. The source said that Strong and the Texas staff still managed to keep players fired up and operating at a high level during practice periods. The source also said that it seemed like the staff was giving the players extended water breaks and time to cool off between periods. The source assumed this was due to the heat, but also a way to for Strong's staff to ensure that intensity level didn't wane between the blow-horns due to the elements. 

- In the second major offensive line shakeup Longhorns fans have seen in as many days, a source told Orangebloods that the starting unit on Tuesday was:

LT Kennedy Estelle
LG Sedrick Flowers
C Dom Espinosa
RG Kent Perkins
RT Darius James

The source said this was the lineup through all portions of practice he witnessed. The source was not familiar with many second-team players, but mentioned that Desmond Harrison had been flipped over to right tackle and was working with the second team. The only other player mentioned with the second group was Jake Raulerson who was back at backup center after spending the first day appearing at the first-team RT spot. 

- One source said RB Malcolm Brown "looks like an NFL player already."

- Another source said "A bunch of the run plays with the first offense versus the first defense were stoned from the start with linebackers coming downhill hard," and that LB Jordan Hicks was the "QB of the defense." He mentioned a quick-action drill with plays coming into and out of both huddles quickly and Hicks leading everyone into their spots. 

- One person said, "expect a lot of from an H-back tight end." The source said there was a lot of motion a flexed TE or H-Back and the TEs were used both as blockers and as high-percentage check-down targets peeling off into the flats. The source mentioned Geoff Swaim as being the ringleader at the position and that No. 85 (M.J. McFarland) was scolded by staff on a couple occasions. Another interesting name mentioned for the role was No. 86 RS FR Jake Oliver who the source said to "keep an eye on."

- David Ash played with the first team, and while one source didn't know the difference between second and third-team personnel, indicated that Tyrone Swoopes and Jerrod Heard split second-team reps. 

- Jerrod Heard got some coaching from the staff about letting a few deep balls go a little wild in 7-on-7 drills, but the staff didn't seem mad that a young player seemed confident enough to take those shots right off. 

- Tons of work on pursuit angles by the defense, one person said. The defensive players all run to their angles (all the way to the sideline), then once there, break down and move their feet on many drills as the last portion of the rep. 

- Shiro Davis worked with the first defense all day and it doesn't seem like his job is in immediate jeopardy to Caleb Bluiett, per one observer. The source said Davis frequently had to drop into coverage and looked smooth "drafting the tight ends and doing those things."

- One source said Quandre Diggs was the only player during special teams work that was working on fielding punt returns. The staff was working Diggs on "getting his body underneath the football for one whole period. He looks like the punt returner."

- The person said "it must have been every young linebacker and DB on the roster they had doing punt block drills. They were working getting your hands to the point of the punter's contact point." The source mentioned that it looked like the player leading up the drills as an outside punt blocker was No. 2 Mykelle Thompson who "fired in there like a rocket."

 

 

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A&M doesn't have to cheat. They have new uniforms the kids these days love ( the swag factor ), new facilities that are outstanding, getting a facelift that transforms the tackle box into a first class stadium, having a Heisman winner in the last 10 years, and a member of the $EC ( The conference ESPN advertises 24/7 as the GREATEST CONFERENCE IN THE WORLD ). Add to that the combination of Mack letting Texas slip off the National Title and Big 12 Championship face of the earth and Aggy joining and having some success ( beating Bama was huge ) in the $EC...... has put Texas behind the 8 ball. The fact that Baylor has risen from the have nots compounds our problems.

 

Texas must win and win now, we need to ditch the Royal "I won't candy ass them up" uniforms attitude. We have to conform to what attracts kids these days. We can still keep the traditional uniforms , but use some Nike crap that attracts kids once in a while ( when we play on Thanksgiving and the LHN games ). I know thats not popular with us old farts ( I don't like it either ), but times are changing and tradition doesn't mean jack squat to kids these days. If it did Notre Dame and other teams stoked with tradition would be top 5 every year. It wouldn't have to be crazy, just a little flare that would attract the kids looking for that swag factor. God forbid anything like the hideous practice uniforms. Those are horrible.

 

 

Man, I must be the anti-GBT on this issue. No offense, mind you. We just disagree here.

 

A&M doesn't have to cheat, but the thing is - they do. And they do it about as well as they play football. If you cheat, you're supposed to gain an advantage over others. See Alabama. Aggy can't seem to parlay it into anything meaningful.

 

1. You have WAY over emphasized the new stylish uniform thing. UT still tops the sales charts on college merchandising and the ugly versions A&M forced on the public last year really didn't help their win-loss ratio at all. Aggy went backwards in that department.

 

. . with a heisman QB, no less.

 

2. I have no idea and can only assume you are right in saying that aggy has a first class stadium. Kyle was some sort of weird ass cathedral thing for them and it was still a game atmosphere straight out of a bad horror flick. Look around you (regardless of playing venue). What do you see? Ice cream men. Some poor dog you spend the whole game feeling sorry for and wondering what happens to him after hours. You see girls in the stands, cringing when aggy scores knowing they now have to get planted by some skin head in a military costume.

 

3. I don't think Charlie Strong is opposed to doing things with the uniform. He may be against the longer he spends here. But I can say for sure that he is not one who is going to pander to some kid by throwing out uniform designs.

 

Charlie Strong has the University to sell. We have national titles that happened and weren't manufactured through divine math wizardry of the retarded alien kind. We have a history and tradition that doesn't make people hurl or seek sexual counseling in animal husbandry departments.

 

We are Texas. We didn't have to change conferences just to try to get people to like and notice us. You cannot talk about our conference without talking about Texas. You can easily talk about the SEC this year and not even think about aggy.

 

AGGY is behind the 8-ball. No team has had the benefit of more hype than Sumlin's aggy. They had their shot and like aggy always does - they blew it. Last year, with a heisman QB and tons of offensive weapons, they crap their pants the whole season (except for the school for the blind OOC foes). 

 

If anything, the clock is ticking on aggy. Their credibility is on the line more than ever and I'm sorry - it just doesn't look good for them.

 

By contrast, UT has a new direction, new leadership, a real commitment, and the promise that butts are going to be kicked, win or lose. That, to me, is about as sexy as it gets.

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Man, I must be the anti-GBT on this issue. No offense, mind you. We just disagree here.

 

A&M doesn't have to cheat, but the thing is - they do. And they do it about as well as they play football.

 

1. You have WAY over emphasized the new stylish uniform thing. UT still tops the sales charts on college merchandising and the ugly versions A&M forced on the public last year really didn't help their win-loss ratio at all. Aggy went backwards in that department.

 

. . with a heisman QB, no less.

 

2. I have no idea and can only assume you are right in saying that aggy has a first class stadium. Kyle was some sort of weird ass cathedral thing for them and it was still a game atmosphere straight out of a bad horror flick. Look around you (regardless of playing venue). What do you see? Ice cream men. Some poor dog you spend the whole game feeling sorry for and wondering what happens to him after hours. You see girls in the stands, cringing when aggy scores knowing they now have to get planted by some skin head in a military costume.

 

3. I don't think Charlie Strong is opposed to doing things with the uniform. He may be against the longer he spends here. But I can say for sure that he is not one who is going to pander to some kid by throwing out uniform designs.

 

Charlie Strong has the University to sell. We have national titles that happened and weren't manufactured through divine math wizardry of the retarded alien kind. We have a history and tradition that doesn't make people hurl or seek sexual counseling in animal husbandry departments.

 

We are Texas. We didn't have to change conferences just to try to get people to like and notice us. You cannot talk about our conference without talking about Texas. You can easily talk about the SEC this year and not even think about aggy.

 

AGGY is behind the 8-ball. No team has had the benefit of more hype than Sumlin's aggy. They had their shot and like aggy always does - they blew it. Last year, with a heisman QB and tons of offensive weapons, they crap their pants the whole season (except for the school for the blind OOC foes). 

 

If anything, the clock is ticking on aggy. Their credibility is on the line more than ever and I'm sorry - it just doesn't look good for them.

 

By contrast, UT has a new direction, new leadership, a real commitment, and the promise that butts are going to be kicked, win or lose. That, to me, is about as sexy as it gets.

Well put!

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I agree that the uniform is a stupid thing, but I'm 58 years old. These kids are 17 and 18 and get excited about a stupid Jordan shoe etc. They think the unis are a big deal. Is it the first thing on their list ? No, but it is on their list and if the program is winning and has the so called swag unis it can play a role in their decision. So why not cover all the bases ? At least until we start winning again.

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Until the team gets in pads I wouldn't take stock in anything that goes on. A lot of players can look great in Tees and shorts. Some even look great with pads in individual drills , but suck when you go 11 on 11 full scrimmage. Talk to any coach and they will tell you the same thing. Its the strangest thing, but it is the truth.

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- In the second major offensive line shakeup Longhorns fans have seen in as many days, a source told Orangebloods that the starting unit on Tuesday was:

 

LT Kennedy Estelle

LG Sedrick Flowers

C Dom Espinosa

RG Kent Perkins

RT Darius James

 

Sounds like Coach Wickline is just testing with different combinations to see who works best together.  I'm confident that we'll see improved play and fewer missed assignments in 2014.  Good stuff

 

By contrast, UT has a new direction, new leadership, a real commitment, and the promise that butts are going to be kicked, win or lose. That, to me, is about as sexy as it gets.

 

The butt-kicking part, in particular, is arousing.  Whoa...did I type that?  <delete>
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Sounds like Coach Wickline is just testing with different combinations to see who works best together.  I'm confident that we'll see improved play and fewer missed assignments in 2014.  Good stuff

 

 

81: The number of sacks allowed by Oklahoma State since the 2007 season, the fewest in the conference. The Longhorns allowed 160 sacks over that same span but now have Joe Wickline, Oklahoma State’s recent offensive line coach running the offensive and offensive line.

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jb, just what is it with you and this "homosexual" trip of yours?  it just makes you sound like one of those trashy deep south uneducated toothless teabaggers (guns, god, and plenty of goofiness).  i always try to equate you, as a TEXAS man with integrity!  this strange "gay" stance of yours, is just so contradicting.

 

Excuse me... did you say 'teabaggers"? Are the gloves coming off?

 

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5:25p - wednesday (06aug14) evening update

 

http://texas.247sports.com/Article/Horns247-Weekly-Six-Pack-David-Ash-Johnathan-Gray-30112962

 

AUSTIN, Texas – In this edition of The Weekly Six-Pack we'll get into some notes, nuggets and takes from fall practice with the Longhorns.

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Strong has dismissed seven players from the program since he took the job in January and his players are onboard with the changes.

1. With our report Wednesday morning that D'Onta Foremanhas received a qualifying score in his summer class and is expected in Austin soon, the Longhorns are set to have 80 scholarship players on campus this fall as of now. Then consider that two snappers, a punter and two kickers are on scholarship and the Longhorns have 75 scholarship position players in the fold. Then factor in that there some guys buried on the depth with little chance of giving Charlie Strong and the staff anything of significance, along with the three players currently suspended for an unspecified amount of games beyond the opener, and it paints the picture of what the depth on this team looks like.

That's what happens when seven guys who were with the team in January are no longer on the roster at the start of camp. Even with the depth having been depleted the Longhorns aren't going to be crying themselves a river, which is avoidable in the same way the players who are no longer in the mix could have avoided getting the axe.

“It hurt us to see guys who guy don't care about football, who really don't care about the team do that type of stuff,â€Johnathan Gray said this week. “What has to be done has to be done.â€

There's no resentment from the players towards Strong and the staff for making the decisions that have the Longhorns in a bind at some positions. One reason for that is when a player messed up, broke a rule or got on the bad side of the coaches it wasn't just that player who paid the price.

Strong decided to have strength coach Pat Moorer punish the entire position group.

“We paid for it for a while, but when then those guys keep constantly messing up it becomes an issue with them and the coaches and that's when they have to step in and tell the kid, 'Hey, you've got to get your act right and if not you're off the team,'†Gray said. “That's one of those things that Coach Strong doesn't tolerate and he deals with it.â€

I was told this summer by sources that this team, particularly the older players who have been in the program for three or four years already, is closer than its been in a very long time. For all of the talk last year about trying to get guys to play for each other, perhaps a byproduct of the way Strong runs his program will be that not letting the man next to you down is something that can be seen on a consistent basis.

2. The depth at running back is much better with Johnathan Gray in the mix and that's no big secret to anyone. One week from today will be exactly nine months since the junior running back had surgery to repair a torn right Achilles tendon, which is remarkable considering Gray said he's at about 95 percent this early in camp.

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Gray is back and looks better than every, something he can thank Pat Moorer for helping him achieve.

The Longhorns had an epidemic of soft tissue injuries last season. Bennie Wylie took the public brunt of the blame for them happening. However, multiple sources told me that the injuries had to do with the inconsistent training methods within the strength program that happened as a result of Wylie and Jeff Madden butting heads constantly.

Even if Mack Brown had returned the strength program was going to experience an overhaul. Thankfully the regime change cleared the way for Strong to bring Pat Moorer into the program, a move that's already paying off in a big way.

If I had to guess I'd say body fat percentages on the 40 Acres are at an all-time low. Players look leaner, sleeker and in overall better shape and looking better on the hoof than I remember a Texas team looking since 2008 or 2009.

More than that, however, is what Moorer has done to get guys back on the field through 'The Pit', Moorer's hellacious workouts designed to get a player back on the field and out of the training room. In addition to Gray, Jordan Hicks (Achilles), Kent Perkins (knee), Erik Huhn (knee), Tevin Jackson (knee), Greg Daniels (shoulder), Paul Boyette (shoulder), Sheroid Evans(knee) and David Ash (foot) were all back on the field for the first day of camp and cleared to be there before camp started, which speaks to what Gray called a grinding rehab session of lifting heavy weights and being in the hot Texas sun every day.

“Coach Moorer just yelling at you, pretty much telling you to build a house and dig dirt,†Gray said. “It helped us and it made us want to be back more with the team and help our teammates out. It was good, it helped us out and it got us back.â€

Whereas the Longhorns opened up camp last year with three players coming off of hip surgery, which I was told was a direct result of the training methods used, and four others not cleared due to various surgeries and injuries, only Deoundrei Davis (spring knee injury) remains in 'The Pit' today.

3. David Ash is a different cat. I'm not talking about the stories you've heard about his parents being worried upon his arrival at Texas as to whether or not cable television and internet access were available in the dorms or any of the other quirky tales of the mop-topped quarterback from Belton. He's different in that he wears his faith on sleeve and is strong in his convictions, which is why I'm not surprised that he admitted to never having a thought about giving up football after his concussion issues of 2013.

He even went so far as to say on Monday that when his mother had her concerns it didn't impact his decision. He's going to play football because he loves football. Ash is all about football and has been ever since I met him when he was in high school.

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Ash said he never gave a thought to giving up football and was determined to play again.

Ash enjoys the back-and-forth with the media now but that hasn't always been the case. I remember covering him as a recruit when he wasn't a fan of answering the typical recruiting questions, even after committing to Texas, but getting him on football and discussing coverages, blitzes and passing concepts and opened him up and caused him to become a totally different person.

A love for football and being strong in his faith are why Ash is returning to the field for 2014, and doing so knowing this risks.

“In my mind I always knew I was going to play again,†Ash said. “I feel like this is where God has placed me, this is the talent He has given me, and whenever I work hard and I play hard it pleases Him and gives Him glory.â€

No matter where you stand on Ash as a player, there's a quality that's certainly redeeming when someone in his situation – knowing what potential is if things go wrong – who is set on doing something they love. If that doesn't show how bad Ash wants to be the quarterback and leader of this team, I'm not sure what will.

4. With Desmond Harrison suspended for at least the first game of the season and with Kennedy Estelle being on thin ice no longer a secret, this will be an interesting camp for Joe Wickline. Expect there to be a lot of shuffling as the veteran line coach goes about figuring out the best combination for the Longhorns.

It's not that the Longhorns lack talent. Estelle started eight games last season, Darius James looks to be in great shape, as does Rami Hammad. As recruits all three of these guys were looked at as prospects with legitimate NFL potential down the road.

Though Wickline is working to fill in the holes from three departed starters from last season he's got a glue guy holding this thing together in Dominic Espinosa. It's hard to image that the player who used to be everyone's favorite punching bag is now the anchor up front, but that's what 39 career starts and the respect of the coaching staff gets you.

Is Espinosa an NFL player? Perhaps not, but he's proving himself to be a good, dependable college player at the most important position on the offensive line.

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Haines has been with the starting defense because he's earned his spot by the work he's put in and the way he's played.

“We have a really good talented offensive line,†Ash said. “They're big and strong, and having Dom up there with his experience directing it, they have a chance to be a really good unit. They can find that chemistry and kind of gel as a unit, they have a chance to be really good.â€

5. Dylan Haines has the chance to emerge as one of the best stories within this program in recent memory by the time this camp is over. The non-scholarship Longhorn legacy is running with the first defense, which speaks to how hard Haines has worked and what he's shown the coaches.

Cedric Reed on Monday that the players are rooting for Haines because he produces. This isn't a move to motivate anyone else in the secondary and is instead further proof that the staff, in this case Vance Bedford, means everything they say.

“Walk-on or not, as long as you can play on this team it shows you've got a spot,†Reed said. “Coach Bedford made that clear when he came here there were no starting spots. Everybody had to earn it. Dylan was one of those guys who went in there, went to the weight room, watched film, did everything he could to get on the field and it is working out for him.â€

6. Charlie Strong showed everyone on the roster a lowlight reel of their worst plays before they broke for summer at the end of May while the assistants were out on the road recruiting. For Mykkele Thompson, that film viewing was brutal – his words, not mine.

“It was really brutal,†Thompson said. “It just makes me hungry, personally, to get better and be able to show what kind of player I believe I am to everybody.â€

Thompson, who will work at cornerback in this camp, needs find whatever it takes in order for him to play at the top of his game. As the deep safety on this team he's the last line of defense, which puts the onus on him to prevent big plays over the top.

Then there's the matter of needing to be physical. We saw a change last year after Duane Akina told Thompson in the spring that he wouldn't play if he wasn't physical, but there's still plenty of work to be done.

Admitting that his first few years on campus were rough as he adjusted to life as a full-time defensive back from being a high school quarterback, Thompson knows he doesn't have any more time to try and get it right. The time to fix all of his past mistakes is now.

“Everybody says you're going from running away from contact to running towards contact,†Thompson said. “There comes a point in your career where you just have to do what you're told, really, and do what it takes for the team.â€

What he puts on film will either be a testament to how serious this staff is about needing to be more physical, or there won't be any film because Thompson simply won't see the field.

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10:07p - late wednesday (06-aug-14) update #2:

 

https://texas.rivals.com/showmsg.asp?fid=500&tid=202970698&mid=202970698&sid=902&style=2

 

--- Per a source, the offensive line first-team was the same as last night, with Desmond Harrison still No. 2 RT. But, as we've cautioned previously, don't read too much into who is lining up where. 

We fully expect Joe Wickline to mix and match different combinations as he tries to find out which players can help at multiple positions along the line. That could very well go on for a couple weeks. 

--- Wednesday was the first day in shoulder pads, with the team wearing shorts and shoulder pads and helmets. Thursday will be the same before the team goes to full pads on Friday. 

One person close to the team said, even in these early workouts, there is MUCH more contact than under the previous staff. In the past, you could hear Mack yelling at the team to "stay up" but that no longer seems like a priority. Like Tuesday, pursuit angles were a priority, per a source. 

--- Armanti Foreman looked really good once again and ran some with the first team in 7-on-7 drills split out wide per one person close to the program. He made a nice play dragging all the way across the field to get open for Ash who was on a rollout to the other side. Foreman also joined Quandre Diggs Wednesday afternoon as the players the staff wanted to work at returner. 

--- Tyrone Swoopes took most of the second-team QB reps on Wednesday while Heard took some second-team reps and then got extra snaps with the third group. If Swoopes is the QB for extended periods in 2014, expect Watson to utilize him on the rollout and cut the field in half for him while also letting Swoopes work on the move. Heard shows a lot of confidence to push the ball downfield and go big, but still needs some refining in his deep ball, one key source said. 

--- Look out for Lorenzo Joe No. 84 operating out of the slot. He took a bunch of reps with the No. 2 offense on Wednesday according to one person we talked with. Interesting to hear that he lined up there as he's not exactly small and slot-like. Strong has mentioned that skill-position players can play early and Joe is an ex-QB who seems smart and runs good routes, and he's a natural with his ball skills.

--- In talking to a person who has been around the program for a while, the team's morale and confidence is as high as it has been in the past few years. The players, per a few different people we talked to today, truly do feel like the work they've put in during the off-season has them prepared for a big 2014 season. 

The suspensions and dismissals may have been a hit to the overall talent and depth on the roster, but according to the people we talked to today, the players feel like those moves will pay immediate dividends, as well as help the program long-term. Time will tell the story of how those moves impact the upcoming season, but the team seems to really feel like things are heading in the right direction.
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12:46a - friday 08-aug-14 - early morning update #1

https://texas.rivals.com/showmsg.asp?fid=500&tid=203003461&mid=203003461&sid=902&style=2

 

Let's start this week's War Room off with some team notes we picked up after making some calls on Thursday morning and Thursday evening ... 

 

- Another day, and more changes along the OL. Thursday's first group :

RT Camhron Hughes
RG Kent Perkins
C Dom Espinosa
LG Sed Flowers
LT Marcus Hutchins (who is still listed as a DT on the official preseason roster) 

Second Group

RT Alex Anderson
RG Rami Hammad
C Jake Raulerson
LG Taylor Doyle
LT Kennedy Estelle 

We've said it all week, but expect continued shuffling along the line as Joe Wickline tries to find his best combinations. 

- One source said Desmond Harrison was running with the third group at right tackle Thursday after working with the second group in previous days. Harrison apparently got in trouble a few times through the week for mental mistakes, once jumping offsides for a false start due to Jerrod Heard's cadence.

- In one practice, S Eric Huhn had a big pick on Jerrod Heard during 7-on-7s where he really stretched for the ball and showed great ball skills and body control to stay up and keep the return alive. 

- One person said safety Dylan Haines has been a fixture in the first defensive group's rotation for team drills and it looks like the unheralded walk-on from Lago Vista could be on his way to cementing a nice role for himself in 2014. Holding onto a starting role me be tough but Haines has clearly gained the confidence of the coaches. 

- Along with Haines, freshman CB Jermaine Roberts has been an under-the-radar defensive athlete getting some first-team run. Roberts also joined a depleted punt return corps on Thursday so the staff could have a look at him in that capacity. Expect to see the true freshman on the field in 2014 in some capacity. 

- WR Marcus Johnson returned to practice Wednesday after nasal surgery and has run most of the time as the No. 1 split end with the first team, one source said. On Thursday, Johnson also got some working fielding punts with the return team. 

- According to one person close to the team, Quandre Diggs exploded on a ball in first team vs. first team 7-on-7s and robbed David Ash blind for what would have been a pick-six on a quick hitting out route to his side. Diggs apparently made a couple very good plays on Thursday. 

- True freshman DB Jason Hall has been seeing more and more significant time with the twos as a safety, one person said. He'll be another player to watch for extended playing time right off the bat as a freshman. 

- A small handful of freshmen are getting long looks with the second team, one source said. A couple of the names mentioned (along with those we've already written about) include Poona Ford and Edwin Freeman. 

- One team source said WR Jacorey Warrick's shiftiness has allowed him to shake free a couple times and he's taking advantage of his increased reps due to low WR numbers. He's been lining up in the slot with the first group for quite a few snaps, and gives the safeties trouble when he sinks into his cuts and bursts out. He's a player that can separate with agility and really quick feet. 

- From the sound of things, the staff is mixing and matching bodies everywhere, not just along the offensive line. It seems the coaches want to get a look at basically everyone (especially the young players) in first and second-team situations to see how they react and how the group operates with different "ingredients" dashed in here and there. 

- With all the substitutions occurring, one name that we asked about who our sources haven't heard much from is DE Caleb Bluiett. It's very early, but Bluiett's absence from those standing out comes as somewhat of a surprise given his reportedly very solid spring and summer. It sounds like starting DE Shiro Davis has taken virtually every first-team rep in drills and seems about as safe in his role at this very early juncture as the rest of the undoubtedly starting defensive line in Cedric Reed, Tank Johnson and Malcom Brown. We're told again and again Davis is looking more comfortable dropping into space and looking for work in coverage. 

- More talk of long, tall, freshman slot WRs: on Wednesday it was Lorenzo Joe seeing extended work with the second team as the slot man and on Thursday it was Garrett Gray who lined up inside FR WR Dorian Leonard who was on the outside. 

- The most surprising slot receiver of the week, though, we're told, was a walk-on who got lots of run with the first team on Thursday. One source said he thought sophomore WR Ty Templin from Granbury was targeted on back-to-back snaps by David Ash when Templin was able to get free - cutting outside and underneath the coverage on Marcus Johnson. 

- A Demarco Cobbs sighting, per one person we talked to ... Cobbs made a couple nice plays with the second team in scrimmage work, including one would-be sack where he shot through untouched on an inside blitz. 

- It sounds like all the QBs are getting quite a bit of work and the reps have been divided pretty evenly. However, the people we talked to this week said Tyrone Swoopes is getting most of the second-team reps so far. 

- No real details, but we're told TE Geoff Swaim and WR Jacorey Warrick were both involved in the passing game in Thursday's practice. Also, one person said the focus has been on the quarterbacks making quick reads from the pocket and getting the ball out quickly. When the offense needs more time for a play to develop, there's apparently been a lot of rolling the pocket. 

- One source we talked to on Thursday said the offensive line seemed to get the best of the defensive line in one on ones (although Malcom Brown apparently was unstoppable). In team scrimmage, it sounds like the defensive line was up to the task and may have even had the upper hand. 

- One team source we talked to said there's a lot more inner-practice discipline going on than what the team is used to seeing. There's a lot more up-downs from every position group when mistakes are made or when maximum effort isn't given. 

Speaking of discipline, there was apparently a scuffle between the offense and defense during Thursday's practice that originated in the trenches. The entire team had to run as punishment. (Orangebloods Staff)

******

Texas senior defensive end Cedric Reed is a man of a few words, but always says something meaningful when he speaks. 

Reed was recently asked what his motivation was this season, and his explanation went far beyond being competitive or trying to improve his NFL draft stock. He is more focused on improving a defense which allowed nearly 31 points a contest during the last five games of 2013.

"We're hungry," Reed said. "Me, Quandre (Diggs), Malcolm (Brown), Dom (Dominic Espinosa), all the guys. Especially the ones me, Malcolm, Quandre, the ones who came back (and did not enter the NFL draft), we're hungry. We want to get this thing back on the road. We just don't want to leave our destiny of those guys that had probably the worst defense ever. We're ready to get this thing turned around." (Richardson)

******

The majority of Longhorns fans are worried about quarterback David Ash surviving this season after he sustained two documented concussions in 2013, but running back Malcolm Brown is optimistic about his quarterback's health. 

"I know David is a strong person, a strong player," Brown said. "It's always one of those deals where you don't want your starting quarterback to have a concussion, but I think David will be more protective of himself and know what he has to do to help the team and still be a part of the team with staying healthy. I'm not worried about David. He's a smart kid, and he knows what he has to do." (Richardson)

******

The Longhorns spent the first two days of training camp without pads, but coach Charlie Strong said contact was allowed on Wednesday. So far, senior receiver Jaxon Shipley (hamstring) was the only player to sustain significant injury. Redshirt freshman Deoundrei Davis is also sidelined for a previous knee injury. (Richardson)

******

Strong recently removed the Longhorns logo from the team helmets and reiterated the need for players to earn it back. He has spent time breaking down his players this offseason. You have to believe Strong will start building them back up during training camp to have them mentally ready for the season opener on August 30. (Richardson)

******

Strong would be happy to have a lot of offensive line depth this season, but is looking to have seven or eight players in the rotation this year. He would like to have a rotation of more defensive linemen. It just might be hard to rotate players in and out with the up-tempo style of many offenses in the Big 12. (Richardson)

******

The NCAA made some significant changes Thursday, which will ultimately impact the University of Texas and the Big 12 conference.

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors voted 16-2 to grant autonomy to the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences, in addition to Notre Dame. 

What does that mean?

Schools in the "Power Five" conferences will now have the freedom to write many of their own rules. 

The conferences will not be able to determine all of their own rules, but the autonomy actions could allow the power five conferences to decide on things, such as: cost-of-attendance stipends, insurance benefits for players, recruiting rules, staff sizes, allowing players to pursue paid career opportunities and covering expenses for players' families to attend postseason games.

Outside conferences could have the option to adopt the rules the power five puts into place. 

Another important point to consider is this motion will now give student athletes a voice in the decision making process. The power five conferences will have 65 votes, along with 15 votes from student-athlete representatives from each league, to combine for a total of 80 votes. 

The details as to how the legislation will be passed are still on going. 

But the way the NCAA has laid out the method for rules to be passed is as follows:
 

The autonomy actions are not set in stone just yet. All 351 Division I schools have the opportunity to submit a veto on the proposal over the next 60 days. If 125 schools veto the proposal, legislation would be dead. If 75 schools veto, then the proposal will go back under review.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby talked favorably about autonomy on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." 

"I think it's going to mean additional benefits for student-athletes," Bowlsby said. "It's certainly going to assure that student-athletes have a few more dollars in their pocket."

How does this impact the Longhorns and other powerhouse athletic programs?

Simple: Texas ? which has ruled as the wealthiest athletic department for seven straight years ? and other top-tier athletic departments could now have the opportunity to give its student athletes a chunk of its profits outside of the regular scholarship limitations. 

Some may take this as the NCAA trying to build up some good will with the larger institutions to ultimately inhibit the power five conferences from entirely breaking away from the NCAA. 

Others may look at it as a way to pay student athletes more money aside from the traditional cost of attendance. 

But the important part of this is the NCAA appears to be working towards financially assisting the student-athletes, which it makes millions of dollars off of every year. (Gaspar)

******

With the UT coaches busy getting their team ready for the 2014 season, it wasn't an overly active week on the recruiting front but we did check with a few guys to get some updates. 

Dallas Skyline LB Anthony Wheeler, who visited both Texas and OU this summer, said those two remain on top of his list. The Sooners have the advantage at this point, but it's a pretty close race. 

Wheeler rated OU an "8 or 9" and gave Texas an 8. Baylor is currently third on his list. 

He plans to take official visits to both UT and OU. This one feels like it'll come down to a Red River battle, but Wheeler did list Notre Dame, Stanford and LSU as other programs that could get in the mix if they were to offer. 

The 6-2, 216-pound Wheeler recapped his visit to UT this summer. 

"I went with my mom. It went very well. We just went down there to get a feel for the coaches, talk to coach Strong," Wheeler said. "He told us about the things he's doing to make their defense even better. He said I would be a good fit for their team." 

As for the Sooners, Wheeler said he feels most comfortable with the OU coaches and it feels "like family there," but he said Texas will have its chance to re-take the top spot over the course of the fall. 

"I guess it would just be me getting to know the coaches better, just get a little more comfortable with them," Wheeler said. 

Wheeler said he talks to the UT staff every couple weeks and he is hoping to make it to Austin sometime in the next few weeks to watch a Longhorn practice. (Suchomel)

******

Mesquite Poteet ATH Deandre McNeal was planning to announce his five official visits this week, but he wound up announcing only three (Miami, UCLA, Oklahoma State). 

McNeal visited Oklahoma this week (the Sooners recently offered) and OU sold him on playing H-back in a role similar to what Trey Millard did. 

McNeal is still not naming favorites, but said he'd like to make his commitment in late October or early November. He plans on visiting Texas for a home game in the fall and the Longhorns could still land an official visit. 

A versatile athlete, Texas is recruiting McNeal to play at tight end/H-back or linebacker (he prefers offense), and McNeal keeps in close contact with UT assistant coach Brian Jean-Mary. 

"They're pretty high (on his list) as well. The tradition, the people that are there are really down to earth," McNeal said. "The 40 Acres is a great place." 

McNeal was hoping to accompany teammate Malik Jefferson on his visit to UT a couple weekends ago but a family emergency prevented him from making that trip. The two want to continue to play together in college, but McNeal said this week it's not a deal-breaker if they split up. 

"It's a big factor. We want to go to the same school," McNeal said. "If can't, we understand, we'll just meet up again in the NFL." (Suchomel)

******

At one point, it looked like Texas would land Bowie (Arlington) offensive lineman Madison Akamnonu, and recently it sounded like he had his eyes on the Longhorns again. In fact, the athletic, 6-5 offensive tackle prospect has a current top three. 

"Yeah, it's Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma," he responded when asked if he had a current top three. 

He'll be announcing his commitment on August 24th via Twitter, and said tonight, "I already know where I want to go. I'm waiting just to get the okay from my parents."

So, did he give any hints? Well, despite being in the top three, it doesn't sound like the Longhorns are a realistic option. 

"I think it was like a month ago. I haven't really talked to Texas recently," the three-star prospect stated about his communication recently with the Longhorns. "Yeah, I think I'm going to message coach Wickline soon."

And compare that to this when asked how often he's talked to Texas Tech:

"I talk to Tech probably three times a week. I talk to them on the phone about twice a week and every day I'll be tweeting with them and on Facebook."

And Akamnonu went on to say that Texas Tech, "felt a little more like home" when I asked which place was the most comfortable for him when he visited. 

Then, there's his response to the communication with Oklahoma:

"Yeah, Oklahoma they send me some film of some of the new stuff they're doing and of players and stuff. I talk to them all the time."

I think it's pretty clear here that unless something drastically changes, this is a two-team battle between Oklahoma and Texas Tech. (McComas)

******

Bishop Dunne 2015 receiver A.D. Miller turned some recruiting heads when he tweeted out, from his account @admiller_9, this:

To many places i haven't gotten to see so I can't shut down this process just yet.

That tweet seems to indicate the three-star receiver and Illinois commitment is planning on taking some visits. And after talking with him tonight, that's clear. 

"I'm looking at I don't know exactly what schools yet but I do plan on taking a few besides Illinois," he before responding with the schools that have stayed in heavy contact with him. "Arizona State, Tennessee, Kentucky, Kansas, Nebraska, and Texas hasn't offered me yet but they've been in contact with me."

As for the Longhorns, the 6-4 Miller hears routinely from multiple Texas coaches. 

"Coach Koenning, coach Watson and coach Chambers," said Miller about which Texas coaches he hears from. "I've been talking to all of them for the past month. I talked to each of them once a week." 

So, could the Longhorns offer? From the sounds of it, Miller is on Texas' "evaluation list," and will see him at some point in the fall. 

"It's just the fact that Koenning hasn't gotten to see me in person in yet that's what they said was holding them back," Miller said about Texas' offer status. "I don't really know for sure."

Miller said that he'll be narrowing down a visit list to "two or three" schools in addition to Illinois. (McComas)

******

A strange recruiting development recently was when South Oak Cliff (Dallas) defensive back Jamile Johnson suddenly decommitted from Oklahoma. And the two likely won't be getting back together anytime soon. 

If you recall, Johnson visited Texas with teammates for one of the Longhorns' one-day camps in July. The three-star defensive back prospect hears from the Longhorns, but he's still waiting for an offer. 

"Yes sir. I actually have heard from Texas. I have been hearing from the DB (Chris Vaughn) coach some. It's kind of confusing because they haven't offered me, but I hear from them a lot."

Johnson believes that Texas views him more as a safety ? he said that he's grown and is up to 200 pounds and also that schools are recruiting him at both safety and corner ? instead of corner, where he's confident he can play at the next level. 

"I want to play corner at the next level. I asked them why they haven't offered me because I can play corner, but I think because they have a safety they haven't offered. I grew a lot, but I'll still play corner."

Johnson plans on taking all of his official visits before coming to a decision. Right now, it sounds like North Carolina and Nebraska are in the lead, and early playing time will matter a lot for him. However, if Texas offered, it would immediately jump to close to the top of the list. 

"Yeah, but, well, Texas would be competing with UNC and Nebraska," he said about Texas moving up his list if it offers. "I'm getting early playing time (at those spots Nebraska and UNC). They're giving me an opportunity to play right away. I always had a dream and that dream was to sign a contract and that's the way to help me." (McComas)

 

This post was edited on 8/7 10:44 PM by Suchomel

 

 

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