Alex Okafor is a beast. (Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE)
Entering the fifth day of fall practice, the Texas Longhorns are now in helmets, pads, and shorts in anticipation of putting on full pads on Friday and starting the serious work of preparing for the 2012 season.
Follow after the jump to find out how things are progressing for head coach Mack Brown and his team.
- As Mack Brown said on Sunday, sophomore quarterback David Ash seems to be recovered from his hamstring issue and is going full speed in practice. He's also taking between 65% and 70% of the starting reps in practice, similar to the distribution during the spring. There's no indication that there's any serious separation between him and junior Case McCoy yet, and that may not start to happen until the first scrimmage.
- McCoy talked about his improved arm strength after gaining 15 pounds during the offseason (some of which was apparently dark matter after Brown said McCoy gained only four pounds of muscle and lost fat), but it's not clear that it's making much of a difference on the field yet.
- There's some talk that the coaches want to reshirt freshman quarterback Jalen Overstreet, who has reportedly been strong in practice -- with some reports saying that he's not too far behind fellow freshman Connor Brewer, a surprise given the differences in their reputations coming in, with Brewer thought to be much more polished than the relatively raw Overstreet. It's hard to tell a lot about mechanics based on pictures, but Oversteet does keep his elbow high on his delivery -- the ideal spot. And based on a picture on MB-TF, it's not surprising that Overstreet is showing similar or better arm strength, as he's extremely impressive physically in his upper body. East Texas strong, imo.
- Freshman running back Johnathan Gray looks good in a Texas uniform. Shocking.
- Sophomore fullback Chet Moss is with the team, a good sign after he missed parts of the fall and almost all of the spring trying to get his grades and overall personal life in order. He does look every bit of his listed 255 pounds, but did struggled catching passes in the aired portion of practice on the Longhorn Network Wednesday.
- Most of the buzz from the freshman receivers is about Marcus Johnson, who has the best combination of speed and polish of the three incoming wideouts. As expected, Cayleb Jones is struggling some beating man coverage and using his hands. Further increasing his strength in the Texas program could help, as he's still significantly behind an older guy like sophomore John Harris.
- For the more veteran players, Harris is the guy who has been drawing attention. In one picture from the first day of practice, he appears to be almost knocking a graduate assistance off his feet with a powerful punch and leg drive in a blocking drill. As expected, he's also providing some steady play with his big body and hard work. The surprise? He's working in the slot, with Jaxon Shipley on the outside, perhaps due to his ability to set the edge in the blocking game, as he's not a typical receiver for that position.
- Sophomore wide receiver Jaxon Shipley is Jaxon Shipley. Does anything more than that need to be said?
- It was just one picture, but also from the first day, there was a shot of senior all-purpose back/wide receiver DJ Monroe catching a pass over his shoulder with sophomore safety Sheroid Evans draped all over him. A sign of improvement? Only one play, but in the past it looked like the type of difficult catch that Monroe couldn't make. Maybe his ability to concentrate and track the football is improving. In another picture from Wednesday, however, it appears that a ball is about ready to hit Monroe in the fingertips and bounce away.
- Freshman offensive lineman Taylor Doyle is still at Texas! Great take McWhorter! Doyle is occupying that scholarship like a boss.
- No word either on the number of hats thrown by offensive line coach Stacy Searels. People need to know these things!
- There doesn't seem to be a lot of agreement on the conditioning of junior defensive tackle Brandon Moore. What does seem clear is that the coaches are riding him hard to make sure that he gets in the best shape possible and gives maximum effort on every rep.
- Junior defensive end Reggie Wilson was participating in practice on Wednesday and showed little to no effects of his recent knee surgery. It appears that he will be ready for the season with no significant loss of practice time, as long as he doesn't suffer a setback.
- Senior defensive end Alex Okafor looks mean with his Justin Tuck-style helmet. And like a defensive tackle in his upper body. Is his still moving well? Yup. Reports are saying that he's essentially unblockable for the Texas offensive tackles.
- Junior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat has been working on taking some coverage drops and reportedly has been disruptive in the flats. He doesn't look as impressive physically as some of the other defensive ends due to his missed time.
- As in the spring, there's a lot of talk about how good early enrollee defensive back Duke Thomas is for being so new to the position. It's possible he could jump an older player like sophomore Josh Turner in the rotation. Will Turner end up spending more time at safety this season?
- Another shocker -- sophomore linebacker Steve Edmond is still a big dude, but looks in good condition and is moving well.
- Freshman linebacker Peter Jinkens looks like he has taken to the Bennie Wylie workouts -- he looks much bigger in his upper body than he did last season as a senior. Speaking of Wylie, he was out at practice, as always, in a sweatshirt.
- No word yet on the impact of hell now being in Austin, brought along with the Man from Van, Dalton Santos. Hopefully he waits until the season starts until he knocks someone smooth out.
- Junior defensive back Adrian Phillips is practicing, but he's wearing a harness on his shoulder. Could be for merely precautionary reasons.
- Apply everything you know about the rest of the secondary -- it's all pretty much the same for them. It is probably worth passing along that sophomore cornerback Quandre Diggs was a beast in a single sled drill that simulated tackling. Dude's a tank. For a defensive back, that is.