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Texas Longhorns Wednesday player availability notes

News and notes with game week approaching.

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Several Texas Longhorns players met with the media on Wednesday following a morning workout wedged between Tuesday and Thursday two-a-days.

Here are the pertinent notes and observations:

-- Sophomore defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway continued to draw praise from teammates, as junior defensive tackle Malcom Brown had positive things to say about one of the defensive line's potential breakout players.

"He is growing up a lot," Brown said. "Sometimes he just goes, and when he really goes, you're like 'just do that every play.' He has grown up a lot. I feel like his mind has gotten better and he is going to be a great player for us."

Of course, the need for play-to-play consistency is hardly anything new for Ridgeway -- the 300-pound man-child flashed it last year at times, like in the season opener when he tackled both the quarterback and the ball-carrier on a read option play, but wasn't able to put it all together for long stretches.

As a player who is young for his classification, the news that Ridgeway is starting to mature mentally is major news, as it's his mental approach to the game that remains the only thing holding him back.

If Ridgeway can play 15-20 snaps a game at a high level, he significantly improves a defensive line that needs several young players to step up to add depth.

-- After being listed as a wide receiver/tight end on the initial fall roster, a remnant from last season no doubt, senior John Harris said that he's working exclusively at wide receiver this fall following the dismissals of junior Kendall Sanders and redshirt freshman Montrel Meander.

The 6'2, 218-pounder is still waiting to make his first major impact across an entire season after several flashes last year that included his long touchdown catch in the opener against New Mexico State and the Hail Mary catch just before halftime at Iowa State.

Energized by the new staff, Harris was a potential attrition candidate during the spring, but took advantage of his clean slate to stick around the team. Now he's working on helping the large group of freshman wide receivers, crediting the mentoring role for an increase in his maturity.

If Harris can just become an effective perimeter blocker and possession receiver, his presence on the team would be a major benefit as the tallest player among the top group of wideouts.

-- In a recent press conference, head coach Charlie Strong called sophomore offensive lineman Kent Perkins the strongest player on the team.

On Wednesday, senior defensive tackle Desmond Jackson playfully took exception to that comment, saying that he's the Horns' strong man. In a more serious vein, however, Jackson said that he's been happy to see Perkins grow in the year that he's been on campus, a major development with the lack of experienced offensive linemen across the board.

-- After the Saturday news that freshman safety Jason Hall has been working with the first team in practice, it wasn't surprising that senior safety Mykkele Thompson was asked about the youngster.

"He's the prototypical safety," Thompson said. "He's got size, range, and he's learning the game at a good pace."

Since the learning curve for Hall still remains steep, apparently, the odds of him starting against North Texas over sophomore walk-on Dylan Haines and sophomore Adrian Colbert are increasing by the minute.

-- Likewise, talk about where Thompson is as a physical player continued with a follow-up question to his previous comments about struggling to make the transition from high school quarterback to college safety.

And Thompson continued to say the right things.

"Of course it's going to be hard, but like I said before, there comes a time where you just have to do what you're told," Thompson said. "It's time for me to step up as a senior and a safety, the quarterback of the defense, to do my job. So, if that means hit somebody or make a check, I have to do it. No questions asked."

Thompson had previously noted that the safeties have greater responsibilities than the cornerbacks in the Charlie Strong/Vance Bedford defense since they are responsible for making the calls for the secondary and ensuring the cornerbacks are in the proper position and know the call.

-- In further roster news, the height for freshman defensive tackle Poona Ford has been corrected to a much more reasonable 5'11, while fellow frosh Chris Nelson is up to 6'1 from 6'0 after being listed at 6'2 in high school.

The new addition to the roster, running back D'Onta Foreman, is listed at the tallest Texas back by three inches at 6'2 and 215 pounds. He'll wear No. 33 this season.