Texas Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong met with the media for the first time this week on Thursday as the Horns wind down fall camp and get ready to prepare for North Texas.
It was an info-packed availability from Strong. Here are the highlights:
-- The Horns will have what Strong described as a "mock scrimmage" on Saturday. The word usage there is a little bit curious, but Strong has mentioned in the past that he doesn't necessarily believe in full-on scrimmages, instead preferring to work on different situations. So on Saturday, Texas will go over game-day scenarios and work on field placement and special teams.
-- Those hoping for positive injury news regarding senior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley will be disappointed by what Strong had to say. The likely No. 1 target for junior quarterback David Ash hasn't been practicing and Strong doesn't know if he will be at full speed for North Texas, although from that wording it sounds like he will be able to play unless he suffers a setback in the coming days.
-- Strong also laid out the starters on his defense with no few surprises -- junior defensive end Shiro Davis is ahead of sophomore defensive end Caleb Bluiett in the competition for the spot opposite senior Cedric Reed, while freshman safety Jason Hall and sophomore walk-on safety Dylan Haines are still battling to start with senior Mykkele Thompson.
-- On Hall, the Texas head coach said that the former three-star prospect is "very mature at his age and he's picking up the defense and practices so well." Makes sense given his ascent of the depth chart and jives with what Thompson said on Wednesday.
-- Even if Hall wins the starting job, look for Haines and freshman walk-on Ty Templin, a wide receiver, to see playing time this fall. Last week, Strong said that Templin was doing an "unbelievable job" stepping up. Of his walk ons as a whole, Strong was effusive in his praise, saying "We cannot be the football team that we are without their hard work." He added that he doesn't differentiate between scholarship players and walk ons.
-- There's a victor in the back-up quarterback job -- sophomore Tyrone Swoopes, who beat out true freshman Jerrod Heard. All the reports from practice have had Swoopes as remaining inconsistent, especially with his accuracy, but there haven't been any indications that Heard has taken advantage of Swoopes' erratic passing, so the Denton Guyer product is likely headed for a redshirt season.
-- As for Ash, Strong said that his starter has done an "unbelievable job" during fall camp
-- Strong also said that he hasn't determined a suspension length for senior offensive tackle Desmond Harrison, junior wide receiver Daje Johnson, and senior safety Josh Turner. In regards to Johnson, Strong was asked about whether the speedster "gets it" and merely said, "That's his decision." Hardly a ringing endorsement from the coach, suggesting that Johnson still hasn't turned the corner with his maturity and work ethic.
-- Along the offensive line, with Harrison suspended for the first game, Strong said that junior Marcus Hutchins and redshirt freshman Darius James are the primary candidates to play at right tackle against the Mean Green. Hutchins could turn into one of the most positive and surprising stories on the team this fall if he continues to play at a high level. After working with the defensive tackles only weeks ago, Hutchins has apparently adjusted well with his move back to the offensive line and looks like he's in line to contribute for the first time in his career.