Don't look for the 'Wildcat' from Texas in 2009

August, 8, 2009
8/08/09
10:10
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

AUSTIN, Texas -- Despite plays from the single wing becoming the rage in college football and in the NFL during the last several years, Mack Brown does not expect the Longhorns to experiment with the "Wildcat" formation.

Brown also pronounced that the Longhorns' ballyhooed "Q package" as dead. That formation featured Colt McCoy and John Chiles in the lineup at the same time with Chiles occasionally receiving snaps from center and McCoy at wide receiver.

"We got into it some last year," Brown said. "It was not productive for us. We want the ball in Colt's hands."

Chiles has moved to wide receiver where several Longhorns have said he has thrived in slot formations after losing 10 pounds and adding to his quickness. He likely could be ticketed for the role that Quan Cosby was so successful for the Longhorns last season.

  • Texas hopes to find a tight end who will be able to step up for Blaine Irby who will miss the season as he recovers from a dislocated knee he sustained early last season.

"We'd like to find two or three who can help us and get us back where we can get more flexibility," Brown said. "After mid-season when Blaine got hurt we got hurt, we were pretty much locked into wideouts. We had to try to run the ball with people spread out all over the field. That's the difference in having a 250-pound tight end who can pound."

Greg Smith, who converted to the offensive line last season, has lost 30 pounds as he prepares for his shot at tight end. Other contenders include injury-plagued sophomore Ian Harris, redshirt freshman D.J. Grant, converted defensive end Ahmard Howard and freshmen Trey Graham and Barrett Matthews.

  • Texas coaches plan to work two practices a day for the first two days of practice beginning on Sunday morning.

NCAA rules limit players to one practice per day for the first five days. Texas coaches will split the team into two practice groups for the first two days of work.

"You can only practice one time per player," Brown said. "We can practice as coaches as many times as we want."

The strategy started last season and worked well, Brown said.

"In order to give more guys more reps in shorts, we decided to that with the other group watching," Brown said. "We're still practicing one day per player even though we're out their in two sessions."

  • The Longhorns will start with a closed practice at 6:30 a.m. Sunday. The Longhorns plan to work about 1 hour and 15 minutes with an older and younger group. Most of the freshmen class will work Sunday night.

Brown said the Wednesday night and Thursday night practices will be open for spectators. The team will be in shells on Wednesday and in full pads on Thursday.

  • Record-breaking heat will greet the Longhorns for the first several days of practice as temperatures of more than 100 degrees are expected for most of the next week.

"The heat is a real issue for all of us," Brown said. "We're planning on practicing outside in the morning. But when you are practicing you still have to watch them closely."

Brown left open the option of practicing inside at the team's air-conditioned facility if the soaring weather conditions continue.

  • Brown does not plan to release a depth chart and promises that players can rise and fall daily depending on their practice accomplishments or struggles.

"We'll kind of start guys where they finished in the spring," Brown said. "You have to have a starting point. But we feel like it's a great advantage for us to change the depth chart each day based on how a guy performs. I know that gets frustrating for our fans, but it's the best way to motivate our team."

  • The quick tempo the Longhorns employed in the Fiesta Bowl will continue as Brown was pleased with the way the Longhorns were able to move the ball.

"We're not going to take the ball out of Colt McCoy's hands," Brown said. "We'll still be no-huddle. With the 40-second change in rules, we want to get more plays. The rules now tend to get you less plays. We want more plays, we want the defense on the sideline and the offense on the field."

  • The competition for the backup position at quarterback behind McCoy is expected to continue throughout fall camp between junior Sherrod Harris and heralded freshman Garrett Gilbert.

Harris missed most of summer work with his teammates as he recovered from knee surgery after spring practice.

"Sherrod and Garrett will both be working as second-team quarterback," Brown said. "We'll let them have head-to-head competition and the one who comes out the best at the end of two-a-day practices will play."

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