Texas Open Practice Defensive Quick Hitters

The second open practice for the Texas Longhorns on Wednesday evening featured the only look at the team in full pads before the home opener against Rice.

Follow after the jump for some quick hitters on how the defense performed in the first open practice. HornBrain will be along some time on Thursday with thoughts on the offense.

  • A day after Christian Scott leveled EBS down the seam, Aaron Williams made his presence felt early on with a bone-crunching hit in the flat on freshman Mike Davis -- by far the biggest hit of the evening and one that drew applause from the fans on hand.
  • The offense opened up the 11-on-11 portion of the practice in the empty set and Chykie Brown was quickly beat for a long touchdown pass to John Chiles. Looked like a blown coverage from the senior cornerback who has been known for such mental lapses throughout his career. In that sense, he's in mid-season form.
  • Earlier in the warm-up drills, Brown dropped several throws as the defensive backs worked on securing interceptions. Not exactly a great start to his campaign to secure seven or eight picks.
  • The Texas defense started out with a lot of three down lineman looks with Sam Acho and Tyrell Higgins/Calvin Howell playing defensive end and various players in the Buck position defending the flats. On one impressive play, Reggie Wilson jumped a route in the flat and looked as athletic as any linebacker taking it to the house. Big time.
  • Wilson also came untouched into the backfield on a twist and would have put a monster hit on the quarterback had it been a live game.
  • Taylor Bible still looks overweight by about 20 or more pounds and struggled to hold his ground when playing nose tackle, one time drawing the ire of Will Muschamp for flat-out tackling Dom Espinosa on a running play. His most impressive play of the evening came on a swim move in one of the few snaps he took as a three technique -- it will take him a while to learn how to hold the middle and he frankly might not have enough strength to take on double teams right now, so that makes it imperative that he improve his conditioning as much as possible.
  • Ashton Dorsey didn't flash much and neither did Calvin Howell or Tyrell Higgins, though it didn't look like any of the three had any major problems getting blown off the ball.
  • In the two-on-two pass rushing drills, the defensive line gave the offense a ton of trouble on twists and stunts, collapsing the pocket on nearly every play.
  • During the drills against the empty set, the defensive line got pressure from the edge consistently as well, although Kyle Hix was not with the ones to begin the day.
  • Kenny Vaccaro didn't deliver any massive hits from his safety positions, but looked excellent in coverage, showing some physicality in redirecting receivers and breaking up some passes.
  • Adrian Phillips had pretty limited action, but picked off a pass from Case McCoy by undercutting a route. With his dreadlocks, he looks like a bigger version of Earl Thomas, but isn't as fast and obviously has a long way to go to really compare to ET. Still, a positive play for the true freshman.
  • Curtis Brown did not practice, but didn't look injured -- no tape on his legs and didn't look to be hobbling around.
  • The freshman linebackers didn't make any noticeably positive plays, but Jordan Hicks looked like a freshman, doing his best impression of Rashad Bobino's kamikaze plunges into the line and ended up giving up some long runs and an earful from Coach Boom. Neither Tevin Jackson nor Aaron Benson flashed.
  • Sam Acho got absolutely engulfed on one running play when facing a double team, but lit up Trey Hopkins during the freshman's stint at left tackle, as did Eddie Jones.
  • Kheeston Randall didn't get a ton of snaps to provide repetitions for the younger players.
  • When Greg Daniels saw action, it was on the interior of the line, mostly as a three tech. Is his future on the interior?
  • Right now it looks like Texas will have to play a lot of snaps with three down lineman because the defensive tackle just aren't getting it down. Not many snaps for Kyle Kriegel or Tevin Mims -- the strength of the defensive line is clearly the defensive end position, but that's not exactly a revelation.
  • Didn't see a lot from the freshman defensive backs, who got beat at times and made a few plays, mostly Adrian White, who is clearly ahead of the curve after enrolling in the spring. Carrington Byndom got beat on one play by Marquise Goodwin and didn't have the speed to recover, but it's questionable whether more than a handful of NFL cornerbacks could catch Goodwin when he gets a step.
  • Blake Gideon struggled in coverage, particularly when he was working in the nickel against John Chiles. He's a safety suited to play the deep center field role and keep everything in front of him. No surprise there either.
  • Overall, this group of defensive backs and the linebackers as well were extremely physical and trying to push the Texas receivers around as much as possible. It's good to see that mentality, but the question is whether the officials will allow that degree of pushing/grabbing/holding to occur once the season starts.
  • Dustin Earnest didn't have his head on a swivel on a reverse and got clocked by Paden Kelley, who quickly helped his teammate to his feet. Ouch.
  • If Christian Scott was on the field, it wasn't noticeable. Eryon Barnett didn't seem to get many reps either -- the coaches want to see the freshman have a chance to play, so some of the upperclassmen are going to have trouble finding the field even in practice. Players take those reps for granted at their own peril and yes, AI, we are talking about practice. Practice. Okay, moving on.
  • Emmanuel Acho was pretty quiet on the day as well after most reports tabbed him as one of the outstanding players on defense yesterday.
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