Thursday, April 1, 2010
A few notes from Austin
By David Ubben
I suppose the title is somewhat misleading, since I'm actually in College Station today, but nonetheless, here's a few things from my visit to Austin Wednesday.
- The team's energy is, of course, reaching a crescendo with the spring game on Sunday. The players said having past Longhorns like Quan Cosby on campus for pro day only accentuated that. Hardly a distraction, but seeing guys who are where they want to be injected some energy into Wednesday's practice.
- Mack Brown feels pretty good about accomplishing his three big points for the spring. Among those:
- Getting the punt return/block game back where it was in past years. Brown's really emphasizing that in the spring, and working defensive backs Aaron Williams and Curtis Brown, as well as receiver James Kirkendoll as returners. If the season began today, Williams would be the return man, and since they do, you know, have a game (kind of) on Sunday, look for Williams to get plenty of time back returning punts.
- Re-establishing the offense. Much has been made of the Longhorns' move under center, but the style change is almost as big of an issue as the personnel changes Texas has undergone this spring. Brown doesn't know just yet exactly whom he wants to feature in the offense, but a big game on Sunday with plenty of eyes watching could give a receiver or running back a leg up heading into the fall. I'll have plenty more on that tomorrow, when we'll feature Texas on the blog.
- Replenishing the defensive line. It really is remarkable how much talent has come through the defensive line at Texas in just the past couple of seasons. Kheeston Randall, Sam Acho and Eddie Jones will try to make the most of their time this season, but Roy Miller, Henry Melton and Brian Orakpo are all in the NFL. Sergio Kindle and Lamarr Houston should join them very soon.
- Texas plans on making a conscious effort to prepare to be ... prepared if it loses a key player like it lost Colt McCoy in the national championship game. You'd expect the entire team to be kind of shaken when it loses a leader like that in that type of situation, and the Longhorns' play in the first half suggested that was the case. Brown's not looking for a repeat of that in any game in 2010.
- Brown compared this team to his 2008 team, acknowledging that with all of the question marks, expectations will be lowered. Not that there isn't plenty of potential on both sides of the ball, but most of that potential is unproven. "This year, there’s so many unknowns, we’re not taking anything for granted," Brown said. "We’re making sure that we’re covering every little detail." In 2008, those question marks were answered to the tune of a BCS bowl win and just one loss.