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Texas Longhorns spring practice report

Thoughts on the team from an insider.

Tyrone Swoopes
Tyrone Swoopes
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Longhorns are now nearly a week into spring practice and with only the first practice open to the media and no open practices planned, there's isn't currently much information coming out about the team.

Fortunately, an insider shared a few thoughts with Burnt Orange Nation on the current state of affairs.

At quarterback, redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard is making plays in the zone read game, hardly a surprise with his quickness and the running success he experienced in high school.

However, junior Tyrone Swoopes is still ahead in the competition, setting himself apart with his work ethic on and off the field. He stays late to throw extra passes, he lives in the film room, and according to this insider, his teammate did not overstate the development of his leadership ability last week. Though Swoopes is known as quiet by nature, he's now much more comfortable taking control of the team.

Has he turned the corner? That's the belief right now.

At wide receiver, the Longhorns need at least one player to emerge and it sounds like sophomore Dorian Leonard could be that guy after catching only one pass for seven yards in 2014. Known as a possession receiver, Leonard is becoming a physical force on the field, a trait that could help him become a reliable target on third down.

Along the offensive line, junior college transfer Tristan Nickelson working with the first team last Wednesday wasn't a fluke or just offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Joe Wickline experimenting -- Wickline thinks that the 6'8, 312-pounder is the "real deal" because of his motor and overall work ethic. If there's one area where he's still lagging behind, it's with his strength, which could necessitate a redshirt after all depending on how the other early enrollees develop.

As for the rest of the line, the interior is set with senior left guard Sedrick Flowers, senior center Taylor Doyle, and junior right guard Kent Perkins, a positive sign for the group's continuity.

Defensively, it was none other than early enrollee linebacker/Fox end Malik Jefferson who received top billing. Jefferson is "as advertised" and "unblockable" on the field and making plays all over the field already. Anyone excited to see him in action during the spring game?

However, if there's a concern defensively, it's with the secondary, as the source says that the young defensive backs may need to be ready to play this fall because the wide receivers have been creating a lot of separation. Spring is a zero-sum game, after all.

With head coach Charlie Strong still discussing the ongoing culture change at Texas, the early returns this spring are positive -- the negative players who impacted others are now gone and there's a much more positive attitude overall. "Off the charts" positive, in fact, according to the source.

Spring is truly the time for optimism, is it not?