First, a quick follow up to yesterday's discussion of tailbacks: earlier in the week I wrote in my Narrative 2010 post that "My Fozzy fantasies are just that. I may love the kid, but this is the year of Cody Johnson, as we prepare for the era of Malcolm Brown." Well, yesterday Scipio Tex filed a timely piece explaining why this is Cody's year -- well worth your time to read.
Alright, let's talk receivers. As a reminder, I'm revisiting the situation as compared to how things looked when I wrote the preview magazine back in May.
Eyes of Texas: "Of particular importance will be the success of sophomore burner Marquise Goodwin and junior super-athlete Malcolm Williams, both of whom have the big-play potential that the envisioned offense is designed to produce.... Most critical will be how Texas gets the blazing fast Goodwin involved.... Seniors John Chiles and James Kirkendoll are likely to feature prominently in the rotations early in the season, but will need to produce to hold off younger receivers like sophomores DeSean Hales (tiny frame but exceptionally quick) and D.J. Monroe (supremely fast, but unproven as a pass catcher)."
Now: All that's about right, but let's elaborate a little based on developments from fall camp.
Let's begin with an omission -- true freshman Mike Davis, a tenacious, confident competitor in the mix for playing time early. He's been performing well at the slot position and will push the upperclassmen right away.
Next, an update on Goodwin, one of My Guys and Five Most Important this fall: The sophomore has been dealing with a slight pull, but Mack Brown said early in the week that he wasn't worried, believing it to be a result of Goodwin's inability to work out with the team this summer due to track and field. He dealt with a similar pull last August but was fine by the season opener, and he's already back out on the field this year, participating in last night's scrimmage.
More troubling was the news that Texas opened fall camp with Chiles, Goodwin, and Davis stacked 1-2-3 on the depth chart at the slot, but more recent reports have the coaches cross-training Chiles and Kirkendoll at multiple positions, suggesting an uneasiness about the two seniors' limitations. Chiles has been drawing rave reviews all fall, but without seeing him yet myself I'm withholding judgment; as for Kirkendoll, we know what he can do when he's not pressed, but he's been a complete zero against stiff competition. I agree fully with Scipio: personnel groupings will be key.
Fall camp has shown Malcolm Williams to be... Malcolm Williams -- brilliant one play, maddeningly incompetent the next. He's a tremendous athlete and great competitor, but catching footballs does not come naturally to him.
I'm eager to get my first look at DeSean Hales this fall, whose usage will probably be limited, but like D.J. Monroe has the potential to have a big impact when he is in the game. Speaking of Monroe, the coaches love what he offers with the ball in his hands, but are struggling to find non-gimmicky ways to do it, and without telegraphing their intent.