Friday’s practice for the Texas Longhorns was a showcase for the defensive backs, including a plant-and-drive interception by freshman safety Brandon Jones:
The nation’s top safety in the 2016 class read the hitch route by freshman wide receiver Davion Curtis and when the ball wasn’t there as Curtis came out of his break, Jones was able to close on the football with excellent quickness and secure the interception.
Other highlights included sophomore cornerback Davante Davis getting so physical with junior wide receiver Dorian Leonard on a slant route that Leonard couldn’t get across the defender’s face and wasn’t able to complete his route.
In an earlier clip, Davis had closed on sophomore wide receiver John Burt on a go route after Burt got about two steps on the preseason All-Conference selection, but slowed up a bit and wasn’t able to secure the catch as Davis got back into the play.
During the team session, Davis broke up a short pass intended for Burt.
Burt got the better of freshman cornerback Sheroid Evans on another play, however, as Evans tried to take away the inside cut from Burt, who was able to throw just enough of a juke to create separation and make the play.
Much like Jones, sophomore cornerback Holton Hill was able to read a hitch by freshman wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey and jump the route, forcing the quarterback to hold the football and lose the rep.
But at least the ball wasn’t forced in for an interception.
In total, the combination of Davis and Hill at cornerback and the emerging Jones battling for playing time at safety,
In 1-vs.-1s between the offensive and defensive line, sophomore defensive end Charles Omenihu used his quickness and a little rip move to beat freshman offensive tackle Jean Delance, who probably has the second-quickest feet on the team at his position but still needs to work on getting a fast kick set at the proper angle.
Freshman defensive tackle Gerald Wilbon beat sophomore center Jake McMillon on a spin move that the coaches probably don’t really want him trying that often in a game — that’s a practice 1-vs.-1 move right there.
And, to his credit, McMillon showed some motor on the play by getting back into it and making the finish difficult for Wilbon.
The most competitive rep was probably junior defensive tackle Poona Ford working against sophomore guard Patrick Vahe, as Ford got some initial push with his leverage, but Vahe was able to recover and anchor. Not an easy feat after losing ground early.
After junior defensive end Naashon Hughes flashed with a great pass-rushing move against sophomore left tackle Connor Williams in another practice video clip, junior offensive lineman Brandon Hodges forced Hughes to change directions and won the rep handily.
Hodges hasn’t been the subject of much discussion because of the play of freshmen like Denzel Okafor and the emergence of junior right tackle Tristan Nickelson prior to his recent ankle injury, but the ‘Horns would benefit tremendously from having Hodges as quality depth at guard or tackle.
Williams had an excellent rep against senior defensive end Bryce Cottrell, who tried to bullrush the sophomore, but the ability to Williams to remain in his cylinder and keep his arms extended on Cottrell controlled the veteran.
Sophomore running back Chris Warren was back at practice after sitting out the scrimmage last weekend as the coaches continue to take precautions with the breakout star from the last two games of 2015.
When redshirt freshman linebacker Cameron Townsend lost his gap integrity on what looked like a blitz by the other linebacker, freshman Demarco Boyd, Warren was able to find a big hole and looked healthy in flashing the speed that allowed him to run a 10.73 100m in high school.
The final clip featured senior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes making an appearance with a rocketed touchdown pass to junior tight end Andrew Beck over the middle as junior safety Jason Hall couldn’t make the play.