February 19, 2009

Spring football is a week away ... a little primer

Mack Brown met with some of the beat writers Thursday to talk about spring football. Here are a few nuggets ...

*Mack wants a more "powerful" runnning attack that can produce in the team's "four-minute drill" at the end of games when trying to kill the clock.

*"I want something more downhill," Mack said. "I don't know what it is. But we're going to work on it in the spring."

*Mack said the offense will try to seek a balance between the shotgun and working under center.

*When I asked him if "under center" meant more one-back or two-back, he said ideally it would mean one back with an H-back. I said like Chris Ogbonnaya. And Mack said, "Like Blaine Irby."

*Irby's rehab from major knee surgery is going well, but he's still a long way from playing.

*Texas will continue to work on a "sound group of trick plays," Brown said.

*Tre Newton will get a good look in the spring at RB because he catches the ball well and has a good feel for blitz pickup, in part, because he played on a spread offense at Southlake Carroll.

*Cody Johnson will also get a good look at tailback in the spring. He weighs 250 pounds and coaches aren't worried about his weight. Now they are just checking his body fat.

*Expect a great race at cornerback between Chykie Brown, Curtis Brown, Deon Beasley and Aaron Williams.

*Biggest concern defensively going into the spring is the depth up front. How about this: it looks like Lamarr Houston, who moved from defensive end to defensive tackle last season, will be the team's new nose tackle at 290 pounds, replacing Roy Miller. That means he'll get most of the double teams, while Kheeston Randall will be the 3-technique. Michael Wilcoxon will also be counted on.

*With DE Eddie Jones having shoulder and ankle surgery, DE Sam Acho will get most of the work at power end job, replacing Henry Melton.

*Sergio Kindle will replace Brian Orakpo as the quick end. His linebacker days are over.

*Now coaches will look to see if linebackers Jared Norton and Keenan Robinson can rush the passer on a part-time basis, the way Kindle did last year in the Buck Package.

*Redshirt freshman Dravannti Johnson will play defensive end.

*DE Alex Okafor, DT Derek Johnson, DE Tevin Mims and DT Calvin Howell all have a chance to play and have an impact this season.

*Okafor has blown teammates away in off-season conditioning with his size and speed.

*DB Marcus Jones has also been impressive in off-season conditioning.

*If the season started today, Jordan Shipley would return punts with Curtis Brown backing him up.

*If the season started today, Malcolm Williams, Christian Scott and Aaron Williams would be duking it out to replace Quan Cosby on kick returns.

*Coaches are eager to see what WR Brock Fitzhenry, WR DeSean Hales and WR D.J. Monroe can do in the spring.

*D.J. Grant and Ahmard Howard will both get a good look at tight end with Irby and Josh Marshall missing the spring because of injuries.

*The running backs had three protection mistakes last season that led to sacks, while the tight ends had five.

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