The Texas Longhorns began their 2011 retooling efforts today beginning with the first Spring practice. Very little fanfare coming from Bellmont as Mack Brown hosted a "media event" this afternoon. This is the first time in recent memory that a live press conference was not held to launch the football season. Indeed.
If any further proof is needed that Mack Brown is "all bidness", there are no open practices this Spring (except for a limited viewing by local beat writers who attended the Day 1 session). Mack Brown laid the foundation for this action last season under the guise of "privacy issues" as reports of injuries suffered during practices hit the blogosphere and textosphere (word?) before news was properly administered to family members. However, most believe that the real reason lies in Brown wanting to abolish "peepers" laying eyes on his new scheme implementation. Hard to argue against this strategy but makes it increasingly difficult to learn of any actual developments. We'll just have to take his word on progress when the message is delivered from on high.
This year's Spring practice is critical for the new Coordinators to begin the teaching process of their fundamental schemes. Offensively, Coach Harsin was quoted as saying, "the team will work on installing the base plays this spring. We want to have a certain amount in when we finish spring," Harsin said. "We need to get the basics down and the base plays. Those are the plays we ran year after year at Boise. Then we'll continue to put more in. As the season goes on, our offense will evolve. It will evolve in terms of how we call plays and how we attack different opponents."
Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz was interviewed yesterday on 1300AM The Buck on Sports and asked about the type of scheme he will implement stating, "Certainly there are 4-3 and 3-4 read attack style schemes. Ours will be an attacking style of defense."
And continuing in the very sad, and lengthy, recent tradition of offseason injuries to Texas players, it was reported today that Eryon Barnett was lost to a season ending knee injury. This is certainly bad news. Not just for the young man but the team is now alarmingly thin at the less than equipped true cornerback position.
Barnett was expected to crack the 2-deep rotation along with Adrian White and Carrington Byndom. This opens the door for Adrian Phillips and possibly true freshman Quandre Diggs or others. Needless to say, Coach Akina has his work cut out for him
Coach Brown confirmed in his press conference that long injured tight end Blaine Irby was officially released for Spring practice. If his progress holds, it gives the Longhorns some much needed support at that position.
Further, Malcolm Williams is reported to miss early practices due to "personal" reasons.
And as previously revealed, Jaxon Shipley will be attending practices and meetings but not working out with team, instead spending time with older brother, current Cincinnati Bengal wide receiver Jordan Shipley.
Finally, the annual orange and white Spring scrimmage is scheduled April 3.
One thing is abundantly clear. Texas Football has stripped the varnish and stain clear down to raw lumber. It's time to start over.