Opening practice report: Part I

The Longhorns kicked off spring practice Thursday afternoon.

Quandre Diggs and Carrington Byndom are both off to fast starts.

This article is going to be rather long, so we'll split the overall report into two separate parts.

The notes come from a pair of extremely dialed-in sources who attended the workout.

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Most impressive newcomer?

The answer was unanimous.

"I'm thoroughly surprised and impressed with Donald Hawkins," one source said.

Another source said, "Donald Hawkins is ready to go, period. Line him up and he is ready. He's quick, he's business-like, he gets after it. They (the defense) tried a few little things you thought he might have problems with, but he caught them all and stayed together with (Trey) Hopkins."

"I'm telling you, the big boy has a real chance."

Here's more on Hawkins.

"I know it's shirts and shorts, but I didn't see the guy get beat one time. Not once."

Color both of these guys extremely, extremely impressed with Hawkins on day one. There was genuine excitement in both of their voices about Hawkins.

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The offensive line started off as:

LT - Donald Hawkins
LG - Trey Hopkins
C - Dominic Espinosa
RG - Mason Walters
RT - Josh Cochran

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Other key notes on the OL:

- Hawkins, as we've been saying for approximately three months now, was recruited to play left tackle. Others have projected Cochran to stay at left tackle, but at least the first day out of the gate Hawkins was the primary guy at left tackle. Cochran flipped to left tackle some with the two's.

- Mack wasn't just giving lip service to Garrett Porter in his presser earlier Thursday when he said the junior center from Odessa Permian had one of the best winter workouts of just about anybody on the team. Porter moved in and played some with the one's during practice.

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The defensive front four?

DE Alex Okafor
DE Reggie Wilson
DT Brandon Moore
DT Ashton Dorsey
(Jackson Jeffcoat is out this spring as he recovers from injury.)

Yep, you're reading that list right. Moore was first in at tackle.

However, he's not quite in the same shape as his fellow JUCO transfer Donald Hawkins.

"I think he may have eaten too many Twinkies at that JUCO," the source said. "But you can see what he has and why they wanted him."

"He started the practice off slow, but as it wore on, there were a couple of plays in a row where he got his shoulder underneath and stuck his foot in the ground and they couldn't move him. He showed that he can just be incredibly hard to move."

"Near the end of practice, you could hear Coach (Bo) Davis saying, 'Good work right there,' to Brandon."

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Starting secondary was comprised of:

FS Mykkele Thompson
SS Kenny Vacarro
CB Carrington Byndom
CB Quandre Diggs
(Adrian Phillips is still recovering from injury this spring.)

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"Diggs and Byndom, they both broke up about 3 or 4 balls today," one source said. "I don't see the offense completing many balls this spring, I just don't. These defensive backs are too good."

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Thompson, according to another source, got beat a few times early in practice. He was late moving on a pass play one time and then over-ran a play in run support.

"You could tell he had a few jitters," the source said. "But he'll come around this spring. (When) he gets more reps, he'll get it."

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David Ash started with the ones at quarterback. Case McCoy was out second and Connor Brewer was third.

We'll have more on the quarterbacks tomorrow. There were some interesting comments for sure, particularly the development of Ash and McCoy.

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Coming tomorrow: the wide receivers, the tight ends, the linebackers and more info on all of the position battles.

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