August 27, 2007

Longhorn Notebook: Talking about the two-deep

The big news on Monday when the Texas Longhorns met with the media was the release of the team's two-deep depth chart.

Although there were not many surprises, the coaching staff did make a few interesting personnel decisions.

On the offense side of the ball, redshirt sophomores Charlie Tanner and Chris Hall were listed on the first-team at guard, while junior Cedric Dockery will see time as the third lineman in that group.

According to Texas head coach Mack Brown, Dockery's health is still a bit of a question mark.

"Usually to be 100%, they say it takes a year," Brown said of Dockery's progress. "We've been very impressed with him. He's been tough, he's tried (and) he hasn't missed (workouts). Normally, you would ask him to miss (some practices), but he didn't want to. I've been pleased with him. I don't know yet at this stage if he can play 75 plays. I don't know if he's ready for that."

Over on the defensive side of the ball, the biggest eye-opener was at cornerback where senior Brandon Foster and junior Ryan Palmer got the nod over a host of young players, including sophomore Deon Beasley.

"Ryan Palmer and Brandon Foster have earned the right to start at corner," Brown said. "They played the best. Deon Beasley is right there with Ryan Palmer and then you have all of the young ones."

Co-starters also highlight depth chart announcements

While some of the depth chart announcements were crystal clear, there were a number of positions that had multiple starters listed and in some cases there were positions where as many as six players littered the two-deep.

Two positions where co-starters have emerged are defensive tackle and linebacker.

"Roy Miller will be a rotating starter," Brown said. "Derek Lokey, Frank Okam and Roy Miller are all three in the starting line-up. They are really good and are playing really well. The same thing with Roddrick Muckelroy. He is a rotating starter at linebacker. He is playing so well and Larry Mac Duff is very excited about him. He will be in there on a rotating basis."

Brown not concerned about size at cornerback

Speculation had grown for weeks that Foster would get the nod at one of the starting positions at cornerback, but with Palmer also being named as a starter on Monday, it leaves the Longhorns with two cornerbacks that tip the scale at 5-9 on their very best day.

With so many big receivers in today's current college football landscape, you might think that the staff is concerned about potential match-up problems, but Brown mentioned on Monday that it shouldn't be a huge issue.

"The average size of a corner in the NFL is I think 5-9," Brown said. "Ability to play the ball is more important than size, too. A tall guy that can't move his hips and cover is tough."

When asked about what he likes about his two corners, Brown mentioned that their experience was invaluable.

"They are both really fast. They've played a lot on special teams and they've worked really hard to earn the right to play," Brown said. "We feel like they are really good cover guys. They are not as tall as we're used to, but we think they are really good. The problem that they've got is that people compare them to the five that left and they are all playing in the NFL. It's a difficult thing to be compared to those five, but we think they are good players."

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