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Notes, quotes and tidbits from UT's spring scrimmage

4/5/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

As I'm typing these notes, the turf at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium is being systematically ripped up and sold to fans as the school prepares to install a new turf in time for the upcoming season.

The giant Orange Longhorn logo has been completely sold, along with 12-inch-by-12-inch chunks between the goal line and the 10-yard line near the North end zone. I would guess they made about $8,000 by selling about 400 chunks of the turf.

Here are some other observations to note from the Longhorns Sunday's scrimmage.

  • The scrimmage was played before an announced crowd of 44,000 at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. A stiff breeze was the only deterrent in the game. The wind was steady at 18 mph with gusts of up to 30 mph. Texas coach Mack Brown said he would have moved the practice inside if it had been a typical spring game.

Texas quarterback Colt McCoy said the breezy conditions helped contribute to his pedestrian final statistics.

"It's a challenge," McCoy said. "It seems like every time we've been outside the wind has been howling. But you have to get used to it. You never know when you have to play in conditions like that."

  • Texas defensive end Sergio Kindle was held out of action because Texas coaches felt he had proven enough earlier in the spring.

"The point of doing that was that he's proven his mettle as a player," Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp said. "We needed to experiment with the other guys and look at what they are going to do. Our job is to get them all ready in the fall."

Brown said that Kindle played like he would have hoped coming into the spring.

"We answered the question about Sergio," Brown said. "He could drop [in pass coverage], we knew, but could he be a consistent pass-rusher like Rak [departing Texas All-America defensive end Brian Orakpo]?

"He can be a great pass-rusher and not a good one. So that question was answered for us."

The Longhorns produced only one sack in the game, as converted defensive end Dravannti Johnson contributed.

  • Among the players who did not play due to injuries included wide receiver Brock Fitzhenry (right hamstring), tight end D.J. Grant (left ankle), tight end Ian Harris (neck), tackle Kyle Hix (left shoulder), defensive tackle Jarvis Humphrey (illness) and running back Cody Johnson (left hamstring).

  • Brown said the kickoff returns were a little skewed because the top kickoff return team played against the second kick coverage squad. It helped account for an average of 31.4 yards per kick return, including a 52-yard return by Malcolm Williams and a 37-yarder by Aaron Williams.

And it also provided some weird plays for spectators, like when orange-clad James Kirkendoll was tackled by kicker Hunter Lawrence, who also was wearing orange.

  • Justin Tucker showed a little diversity, kicking with both his left and right foot in his rugby-style running punting style.

Tucker uncorked a 45-yard kick with his left foot and later had a 48-yard punt with his right foot.

"We feel our kicking game should be good," Brown said. "Justin's a plus and we feel our kicking game can be better than it's been."

  • Like it was at the final game last season, the winter rye turf at the stadium was slick. Vondrell McGee slipped on a goal-line run early in the game.

Brown said he won't miss the old turf, which will be replaced before the Longhorns' Sept. 5 opener against Louisiana-Monroe with a new Field Turf playing surface.

"The fact that we will have consistent grass every day and not have what we had in the A&M game, which none of us were proud of, is a positive," Brown said.

  • The game was carried live on ESPN360.com and later shown on a tape-delay basis by ESPNU.

I wonder if Texas Tech coach Mike Leach noticed who served as the referee of the scrimmage. It was none other than Big 12 official Randy Christal, an Austin resident.

Leach bitterly complained two years ago after a loss to the Longhorns in Austin when Christal served as the referee of the game. The Texas Tech coach claimed that Christal was biased because he lives in Austin.

Leach was fined by the conference for his comments, and Christal worked only two Texas games last season. But he was back working for the Longhorns on Sunday.