Sit back, relax and enjoy your morning cup of coffee. We have your Thursday scrimmage report on the Longhorns.
Mack Brown got a good look at his 2013 squad in Thursday night's spring scrimmage.
We're told that most of the scrimmage featured the first team offense against the second team defense and vice versa. There was some 1 vs. 1 in the team portion and again in the goal line portion to end practice, which is similar to how the Longhorns ran goal line during the second open practice.
Let's start with the defense, who we're told had the better day of the two sides of scrimmage.
With the Longhorns basing out of the nickel, we're told Sheroid Evans got just as many reps as Duke Thomas at corner coming off of the bench to take Quandre Diggs' spot when he slides over to cover the slot.
“He's a good looking athlete,” one source said of Evans. “He stuck his nose in there a couple of times and showed he can tackle.”
There may be a reason why.
One source told us, "Adrian (Phillips) had his best scrimmage maybe ever. He is being much, much more physical than last year. I don't think he's going to have the same problems (tackling) he had a year ago. Some of the things that have been said about him, he's taking it to heart and determined to change that perception."
Overall we're told the secondary looks good moving around but still has plenty of work to do.
“They need to make more plays on the ball,” a source told Hookem.com. “[David] Ash has done a good job of taking care of the ball, but there should be a lot more plays being made than there are.”
Another group we're told performed well were the defensive ends.
Cedric Reed was said to have been good playing contain, as were the rest of the ends.
“That group did a good job at just playing good, fundamental football,” a source told Hookem.com. “They didn't dominate the scrimmage, but by playing their assignments the right way it made it tough for the offense.”
Defensively we're told there was some twisting and stunting by the defensive tackles but, as in Tuesday's practice, the pre-snap movement wasn't happening. The result was the defense winning the scrimmage, based on everything we've gathered.
“They ran some zone blitz but it wasn't anything too crazy,” one source said. “It was pretty basic alignment/assignment football.”
The best group of the scrimmage, we're told, were the second team linebackers. The group of Steve Edmond in the middle with Kendall Thompson and Aaron Benson flanking him made it tough for the first team offense to get anything going.
“Those guys were all over the field,” one source said. “Kendall Thompson had a couple of really nice plays defending screens. They didn't allow the big plays to happen and they tackled well. They swarmed to the ball.”
In terms of the running game we're told that Ash used his legs effectively.
Ash had a touchdown during the red zone portion of the scrimmage.
“Even if he could have been hit, he probably still would have scored,” one source said.
Ash also had a 15-yard keeper on an option play.
Tyrone Swoopes took a few snaps during the team portion but didn't do anything noteworthy. Connor Brewer's name wasn't mentioned by our sources.
When looking at Ash specifically, we're told that he had a clean scrimmage. No turnovers.
“You could tell from the way he looked today his decision making has continued to improve,” one source said. “He didn't make the big mistake.”
Overall we're told that while Ash didn't have any moments of brilliance, the best thing he did was avoid the big mistake. He's yet to throw an interception in live drills through eight practices.
We're told Ash didn't force many throws and either threw the ball away or tucked it and ran. When Ash did try to squeeze the ball into a window, we're told he did it going to Mike Davis.
“The rapport is there,” a source told Hookem.com. “It's like he trusts [Davis] above everyone else to go make a play if he's in a jam.”
While Davis and Jaxon Shipley are clearly the team's top two receivers, the Horns continue to look for a third.
We're told that Kendall Sanders made a pair of plays on Thursday night that displayed his athleticism.
Sanders could be inching ahead in the race to be the team's third receiver but must still improve his route running.
We're told with the running lanes generally clogged up it was hard for the running backs to get anything going.
We're told Brown's burst at the mesh point and into the line of scrimmage has looked better than it has been since he's been on campus.
One of Johnathan Gray's best runs in the scrimmage was where he took a handoff over the right side of the line, broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and cut it back against the grain for a decent gain.
“The backs did really well considering they had to make a lot of their yards,” a source told Hookem.com. “There just wasn't a lot of room for them to do much.”
We're told Gray and Brown got most of the scrimmage work with Joe Bergeron getting significantly fewer touches.
Donald Hawkins was said to be a real bright spot along the offensive line. We're told that down around the goal line, the running game went behind him a lot of the time.
Sedrick Flowers and Kennedy Estelle continue to get starter reps in the absence of Trey Hopkins and Josh Cochran. It's valuable experience for a team trying to build significant depth along the offensive front.
Geoff Swaim got some situational work with the first team when the Longhorns went to their bigger packages. He and M.J. McFarland got most of the tight end reps in the scrimmage, but we're told none of the tight ends did anything to stand out.
The Horns now take a week off for spring break.
We're told that Mack Brown and staff will use the time to recharge the batteries, focus on filling additional player personnel spots on the staff and evaluating where the team is at the halfway point of spring practice.
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