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Notes from Wednesday’s Texas open practice

Wescott Eberts

AUSTIN, Texas — On Wednesday, the Texas Longhorns opened the entire practice at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium to fans and media as head coach Steve Sarkisian’s team approaches the two-week mark of preseason camp.

A few takeaways from practice:

— Junior wide receiver Marcus Washington was with the first-team offense because freshman wide receiver Xavier Worthy was out with a non-COVID illness. Junior Joshua Moore and junior Jordan Whittington were the other two first-team receivers.

— Redshirt freshman wide receiver Dajon Harrison was in a green non-contact jersey during practice with a brace on his shoulder. After opting out of the 2020 season, Harrison might not factor into the rotation this year, but his quickness was apparent on Wednesday.

— Redshirt freshman wide receiver Troy Omeire practiced without a brace on his knee and was moving well until he tweaked his knee late. Omeire did not practice on Thursday as he received a medical evaluation of his knee.

— Sarkisian has an eye for fine details and got on his wide receivers when they weren’t running routes correctly.

— Texas took some reps in 12 personnel during an early period. Tight ends coach Jeff Banks noted in an availability that Alabama played between 30 and 40 percent of its snaps in that personnel grouping last season. With a deep tight end group, Texas may match those percentages this season, especially with the rapid improvement of junior Jared Wiley.

— Redshirt freshman Hudson Card started out with the first-team offense once again, continuing the trend this week, but junior Casey Thompson also rotated in with the first-team offense during portions of practice. When asked about the rotation earlier in the week, head coach Steve Sarkisian downplayed the significance. However, if anyone is creating separation at the position, it’s Card.

— At the start of practice, junior offensive lineman Junior Angilau was among the players working on snapping the football. He’s been taking reps at the position in an attempt to establish depth. Along with redshirt freshman Jake Majors, the starter, senior Derek Kerstetter, redshirt freshman Logan Parr, and junior Rafiti Ghirmai were also working on snaps.

— The backup offensive line (from left to right) was sophomore Isaiah Hookfin, freshman Hayden Conner, redshirt freshman Logan Parr, senior Tope Imade, and redshirt freshman Andrej Karic.

— On defense, junior linebacker Luke Brockermeyer was working with the first team next to senior DeMarvion Overshown and flashed his instincts by nearly intercepting a pass from Thompson caught by Moore. At nickel, one of the biggest stories of preseason camp is the improvement of senior Anthony Cook, who is now working with the first team. Seniors Brenden Schooler and BJ Foster are the starters at safety with sophomore Jerrin Thompson backing up Cook at nickel and junior Chris Adimora moving to safety.

— Freshman Isaac Pearson handled the punting duties on Wednesday. Since senior Cameron Dicker is currently the starter in all three phases, he only kicks four days a week to avoid fatiguing his leg. Inconsistency is an issue for Pearson, but he didn’t have any noticeable shanks like Michael Dickson and Ryan Bujcevski had when they first arrived stateside — Banks called Pearson a “pleasant surprise” so far.

— On the punt coverage unit, sophomore cornerback Kitan Crawford and junior safety Tyler Owens were the first-team gunners, followed by senior Josh Thompson and Washington and senior cornerback Darion Dunn and sophomore cornerback Jahdae Barron.

— The four players currently working as holders are the two quarterbacks competing for the starting job and the two punters.

— One of the most impressive moments during practice came from sophomore running back Bijan Robinson, who exploded up the middle for a touchdown run. For a player who generally preferred outside zone last year, seeing Robinson running with decisiveness between the tackles was a positive development.

— Sophomore Alfred Collins has spent time working with the defensive ends.