We'll start with a nice Longhorn notes column from the SA Express-News' Jeff McDonald. Along with a nice featurette on Drew Kelson, McDonald includes this "Buy" note:
Virtually every time a defensive coordinator assumes a new job, there's talk of being "more aggressive." Football, and defense, are aggressive activities, so it's an adjective which gets tossed around liberally. However, it's not always indicative of how a DC intends to coach his defense. His scheme may not, in fact, be more aggressive than his predecessor's.
With Akina, though? I'm certain he intends to be blitzing with greater frequency than Gene Chizik, who was married to his base 4-3 defense. Chizik emphasized maintaining position, controlling gaps, and limiting blitzes. I talked to Duane Akina about his scheme over the summer and he made it completely clear that there will be more blitzing. Not only more blitzing, but more appearances of blitzing - even when the defenders aren't going to be coming.
We don't have any results to judge just yet, but I firmly believe that the blitz, a real risk in the NFL, is a smart, prudent defensive tactic for NCAA football. The kids on offense don't execute well enough for the risk to be so great it's not worth it. Get to the quarterback, make him make quick decisions. You'll get burned on occasion, but the cost-benefit overall is in your favor.
While McDonald was busy featuring Drew Kelson for the Express-News, the Statesman's Cedric Golden was profiling Erick Jackson, the free safety competing with Kelson for a starting job. Jackson is a fifth year starter who's been limited to special teams duties as stars like Michael Huff and Michael Griffin crowded the safety position.
Golden writes that Jackson's time may have come. According to various camp reports, Jackson has been playing well, and he's always had a reputation as a fierce bell-ringer. He hits hard and flies to the ball much like the departed Michael Griffin. Normally, I raise an eyebrow that any fifth-year senior would suddenly become a starter, but with Texas, the caliber of play at safety has been so strong that good players can, and have, been lost on the depth chart. Jackson has had to wait because he's been behind some real superstars. He'll have a chance in '07 to make his own mark.
Some interesting nuggets in Suzanne Haliburton's notebook, including:
*Emmanuel Moody, the USC tailback who's opted to transfer, includes Texas among the schools he intends to visit. Moody will also take a look at North Carolina, Florida, and Oklahoma State. The tailback situation at Texas, UF, and OSU isn't exactly wide-open, but anywhere would be less competitive than at USC.
*Quan Cosby intends to return for his senior season. I have no idea why the media's asking him about this right now, but Cosby iterated that he'll be playing both in 2007 and '08.
*If post-season awards are your bag, you'll be happy to know Coly McCoy is on the Davey O'Brien watch list.
*Chris Hall may have the inside track on the starting left guard spot. This is in line with what Greg Davis said on Monday.
Briefly: Player quotes from Tuesday's practice are up at MB-TF.com... Corn Nation lovingly suggests Texas has a baby complex... Sam Bradford has been named OU's starting quarterback; C&CM approves... Shannon Woods has been named a co-starter for the Red Raiders... What do you do when your house is broken into and your XBox is stolen? Write a haiku...