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Wednesday Practice Report

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While I was tied up here in California doing EDSBS LIVE, the Longhorns were busy in Austin practicing in front of fans. An old friend was nice enough to give me a call after the practice and share with me his thoughts. After the jump, I'll share with you the notes I took from our conversation. I wasn't there, but this is from someone whose judgment I value; I'd certainly be interested to hear the thoughts from others who made it out to DKR.

  • "This is the 12th straight year I've gone to open fall practices and I'm more excited about this team than I have been any team in memory -- even the 2005 team. Maybe because we'd lost five straight to OU back then, I was afraid to believe. I believe in this team already."
  • "It looked to me like DJ Grant had his leg catch on the ground while he took a little pop from Earl Thomas. The body went one way while the leg stayed still. I suspect the knee popped, but who knows. We can hope it was just a strain."
  • "Everyone around me was impressed by Barrett Matthews. Texas isn't going to have an all-conference guy like Pettigrew out there, but we don't need one. We just need someone to keep defenses honest. Matthews' athleticism and versatility surprised me. I'm hopeful he can fill the role we need in the passing game."
  • "For all Colt's summer gushing about Brandon Collins, it was James Kirkendoll who looked like his new BFF. At least tonight. I've seen enough of these not to read too much into the small sample, but I like that we have some competition for the Quan Cosby role."
  • "The #2 QB battle is more interesting than I thought it would be. Sherrod Harris looked 100% healthy to me, which is great, but I was pretty wowed by what it looks like Garrett Gilbert will become -- and quickly. It's an interesting short-, medium-, and long-term strategy problem for the coaches to ponder. I'll be curious to hear your thoughts on how you'd handle it."  [PB: I'll devote a post to this, but I'd get Gilbert going now. There are good arguments on both sides, though. More later.]
  • "I'm with you on thinking Vondrell McGee can be a successful tailback for this team. Guy is solid in all the right ways, and more explosive than people realize. Like you, I think he's the nominal starter. Anything we get from Fozzy Whittaker is a bonus. He's intriguing, but he may need more space than our offense creates. We'll see."
  • Asking about Colt and any other receivers he noticed: "McCoy is sharp, but what I really love is watching him lead the team. You need that to win 12 straight games. He's a man out there. As for receivers, I don't have much more to add. I like our depth and think the group will produce more than enough playmakers. Malcolm Williams is close, real close. He's not thinking with the ball in his hands anymore, which is huge. The new burner -- Marquise Goodwin -- can play ball. Neither DJ Monroe nor DeSean Hales looks ready to be a regular contributor; both are a year away."
  • "The defense showed a lot of different looks, including a bunch of sets from the 3-4, with Roddrick Muckelroy, Jared Norton, Emmanuel Acho, and Keenan Robinson out there together at times. Given our situation at DT, it makes sense -- all four are playmakers. You wonder how Texas would fare against a team with a power rushing attack, but then you look at the Big 12 and shrug. Who f***ng cares? Both Texas and OU have better defenses than anyone outside the conference will ever realize."
  • "This isn't Mack Brown's strongest defensive line, but it may be his quickest. I think it's enough for Muschamp to get by. We'll see. An injury to Lamarr Houston would be catastrophic."
  • "The secondary is just unfair. We've talked about this before, but Aaron Williams is the best true sophomore DB Texas has ever had in the Mack Brown era. And we've had some good ones. Chykie Brown is healthy and is just so long, both in his strides and in his arms; when he concentrates with his footwork, he's not getting passed on. Curtis Brown has the raw athleticism but isn't there fundamentally yet. He had trouble with Kirkendoll tonight. Still, I'd rather have him than anyone on, say, Oklahoma State. Earl Thomas is All-Conference, and Blake Gideon and Christian Scott will do a great job competing with one another for top minutes."
  • "I didn't focus on the line play too much, but if I'm able to make it to tomorrow's practice I'll look in. The main thing for me is while I don't want to put too much into player notes on one practice, the way I saw everyone out there working made me 100% believe this team is what we think it is. All the hype will be about the Texas and OU offenses, but the real story is the defenses. The Sooners are much better on D than anyone in the mainstream media will talk about, but so is Texas. In fact, if you made me draft any defense from the MB era, I'm not sure I wouldn't choose this group #1, depth at tackle be damned. My love for the LBs/DBs is that strong."