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Texas Orange-White Game 2012: Top Five Plays

Redshirt freshman TE MJ McFarland made one of the plays of the day during the Orange-White game. (Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE)
Redshirt freshman TE MJ McFarland made one of the plays of the day during the Orange-White game. (Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE)

The top plays feature is always a favorite on SportsCenter. In that spirit, here's a look at the five best plays from Sunday's Orange-White scrimmage at DKR.

Since there weren't any particularly spectacular plays from the defense, this list is heavily weighted towards the offense. In fact, the best plays from the defense -- two interceptions of Case McCoy and a third that would have made this list had Carrington Byndom pulled in and housed another McCoy interception -- were mostly a result of poor decisions/throws from McCoy, who did manage to make this list, however, for a more positive reason.

Oh yeah, and for those BONizens out there who don't have the Longhorn Network or live in Austin (most of y'all), there's even some visual evidence that these plays actually went down on Sunday.

1. Mykkele Thompson streaks 99 yards for a kickoff return touchdown. Need convincing that the sophomore safety is dynamic with the ball in his hands? You know, besides the more than 3,600 rushing yards and 48 touchdowns he gained in high school as a running quarterback.

How about this:

Thompson (via Derek Johnson)

With neither Mike Davis nor DJ Monroe gaining control of the kickoff return position with their efforts on Sunday -- to be fair, neither had much of a chance the way Will Russ was booming kicks -- Thompson may have earned serious consideration this fall. He's bigger than Monroe and probably faster than Davis, meaning the only questions remaining regard his vision and ability to break tackles.

No WildHorn for Thompson? No problem, just as long as he gets the ball in his hands somehow. Like a chance to win the kickoff return job in the fall.

2. Jaxon Shipley connects for yet another trick-play touchdown. As good as he is at receiver, it turns out that Shipley is quite the quarterback, too -- he connected on all four of his passes as a freshman, with three going for touchdowns, all good for a QB rating of just over 500.

Cue the jokes about how he's the best quarterback on the team. And, stop -- they're a bit trollish for my taste. Seriously, the Oklahoma people I follow all made that joke on Twitter when this play happened.

But he is good. Really:

JAXON (via Derek Johnson)

Shortly after pulling down a similar trick play to the other side and picking up positive yardage before being tackled by Chris Whaley well down the field (!), Shipley hit DJ Grant perfectly in stride when Bryan Harsin went back to the well again to give the Texas fans in attendance a bit of a thrill.

Some day, Jaxon Shipley may throw an incomplete pass at Texas. Until then, celebrate the perfection that is Shipley connecting with whomever he targets.

3. MJ McFarland down the seam for 50+. As Case McCoy continued his trend of working better over the middle than to the sidelines, the highlight was hitting his redshirt freshman tight end with a well-delivered ball that left back-up middle linebacker Kendall Thompson trailing the former high school wide receiver down the field:

MJ (via Derek Johnson)

There hasn't been any cause to question McFarland's ability as a receiver, his strength coming out of high school. Even after some good plays in the open practices, McFarland still hadn't made those plays in a game-like situation. He did on Sunday, though a drop later in the scrimmage took some of the shine off of his performance in the passing game.

4. DJ Monroe is a one-trick pony with one really good trick. In a straight line, Donald Junior is fast. Like, really fast. Unfortunately, it's still not clear that he can catch the ball after's Jeff Howe counted seven drops ($) from the on-again, off-again wide receiver in warmups. Or make anything miss. There's probably enough evidence now to say that he can't. Still, he's fast! Really fast! Fast with a capital F.

Just look:

IMG 0316 (via Derek Johnson)

Note the strong lead block from fullback Ryan Roberson, a sign that he may be able to fill in adequately for the departed Cody Johnson, even if it was only one play.

Blocked well, that jet sweep is dangerous even when the defense knows what's coming.

Any hope that Monroe can provide enough versatility to allow Harsin to add some more plays to his package is waning at this point. So it may just be that one trick for Monroe, as it has been so for years.

5. Josh Turner elevates to snag an interception. Whether he's at cornerback or safety, sophomore defensive back Josh Turner is quickly emerging as a player with the versatility and skills to demand some playing time in 2012. Physical enough to play safety, Turner may be better as a cornerback, where he showed the ball skills of the former high school wide receiver that he is to help the defense earn the one and only stop in the redzone the Texas defense came up with all day:

Turner (via Derek Johnson)

With the struggles of Thompson during open practices and during the spring game, Turner may be first in line for whatever reps aren't taking by the more experienced players in the secondary when the group finally gets healthy this fall.