Online Now 222

Inside the Team: Practice No. 4

News and notes from Wednesday's spring practice.

Josh Cochran, a junior starting offensive lineman, fractured a leg Wednesday at practice and will miss the remainder of spring ball.

*****

Junior right tackle Josh Cochran suffered a lower leg fracture that will keep him out the rest of spring.

I'm told Cochran was hurt during a drill. The injury didn't appear to look bad on the surface, but I'm told everyone realized it was serious when Cochran tried to get up and couldn't.

Kennedy Estelle replaced Cochran at right tackle.

Texas sports information director John Bianco later released a statement that Cochran will be out the remainder of the spring. Texas trainer Kenny Boyd said in a statement he believes Cochran should be ready to go for pre-season drills in August.

*****

Staying with the offensive line...

It was an up and down day for the OL as a group. There were times where the execution was there and things were clicking, but they were inconsistent.

Dominic Espinosa is said to still be having some deficiencies at center.

“I guess if you're expecting this line to be an overpowering group, they're not,” a source told Hookem.com. “You see flashes where they're really good, but they're still having times where they're getting dominated by the defensive line.”

*****

I'm told Donald Hawkins and Sedrick Flowers were good in one-on-one drills, particularly Hawkins because of his aggressiveness.

*****

One source expressed some continued concern about Dominic Espinosa, especially during the one-on-ones.

“Right now I see the same guy I saw last year,” the source said. “He's great at making calls and he plays with a lot of effort. When he's going against a guy like Malcom Brown who is just a superior athlete and is stronger than he is, that's when you see him struggle.”

*****

In the live portions of practice, Sedrick Flowers still got the first team reps at left guard over Curtis Riser for the injured Trey Hopkins.

Malcolm Brown might have been the best player on the field Wednesday.

The rest of the starting line-up remained the same as it has been since the start of camp.

*****

Practice yesterday included a lot of situational scrimmaging.

I'm told the coaches were blowing the whistle to stop plays in an effort to keep guys on their feet, but at the same time there was a big emphasis on making contact and wrapping up on every single play.

*****

I'm told junior running back Malcolm Brown was the most dominant player on the field on Wednesday.

He was in top form, particularly in the live portions of practice.

“There was a sequence where they gave him the ball four straight times and the defense couldn't stop him," a source said. “He had one play where he absolutely trucked Dalton Santos."

Wednesday's practice was reportedly another solid day for David Ash.

*****

The quarterback reps were distributed differently again. David Ash got his normal reps with the ones with Case McCoy back to getting his handful of snaps with the first group.

I'm told there was a portion of practice where Tyrone Swoopes got some second team reps and Jalen Overstreet ran with the third team. The only constant other than Ash's first team reps was that Connor Brewer received little-to-no work.

“If he's mad, he's hiding it well,” one source said. “He seems resigned to the fact that his situation is what it is right now based on other factors.”

*****

It was another solid day for David Ash.

I'm told Ash wasn't spectacular, but he didn't make any noticeable blunders either. More often than not made the right read against live bullets.

I'm told the best way to describe Ash's spring to this point is that he's been "steady".

Malcom Brown and Desmond Jackson already appear to be separating at defensive tackle.

“His play hasn't declined, but he hasn't been remarkably better since the first practice either,” a source told Hookem.com. “He should probably look better than he does given the fact that it's his job, but he hasn't done anything that would give the coaches any indication it should be an open competition.”

*****

I'm told Bryant Jackson continues to make his presence known at receiver. He's reportedly shown a lot of enthusiasm and energy and is said to be making plays after the catch as a big inside receiver in the offense.

*****

The pass of the day?

David Ash threaded a ball down the seam to M.J. McFarland in a crowd of defenders during a live period.

It was a nice practice for McFarland after he struggled with some drops in earlier practices.

*****

Ends like Cedric Reed are asked to do a lot in this defense.

I'm told John Harris had a productive practice.

*****

While there's still a lot of rotating among the defensive tackles, the two constants were Desmond Jackson and Malcom Brown as the starters.

“They did a pretty good job for the most part,” a source told Hookem.com. “There's a lot of bodies rotating with that second group but those two are the front-line guys.”

As a group I'm told the tackles, particularly the second group, produced mixed results on Wednesday.

“You still see breakdowns where there are running lanes wide open up the middle,” one source said. “It looks they're just getting hung up and can't get off blocks.”

*****

Reggie Wilson's name has been noticeably absent from the first few practices but I'm told he worked in the second group at defensive end with Caleb Bluiett and Bryce Cottrell.

Shiro Davis and Cedric Reed were the starters.

I'm told some of the big runs Brown and Johnathan Gray made during live periods were a result of the ends getting sealed off and being unable to maintain outside leverage.

Manny Diaz always talks about the ends being asked to do a lot in his system, and the inability to get off blocks allowed some big plays in the run game to happen.

Of the group, I'm told Shiro Davis had his moments.

“When he's allowed to pin his ears back and go, he's able to make some plays,” one source said. “They're really trying to coach him up right now, and he's better standing up than in a stance, but you see the upside with him when he cuts loose.”

*****

I was told by my sources that Jordan Hicks was not on the practice field.

The first team linebackers were Peter Jinkens, Dalton Santos and Tevin Jackson. Jinkens and Jackson are said to be making the most plays of the group at this point, and the coaches are said to like their ability to cover a lot of ground and be extremely aggressive, respectively.

The second team linebackers were Kendall Thompson, Steve Edmond and Aaron Benson. Hicks' absence was noticeable.

“It just seems like a totally different group when he's not there,” the source said. “None of the other guys seem to have fully developed his kind of feel for the game.”

*****

The best competition in camp, I'm told, continues to come from the secondary.

“It's making everybody better,” a source said. “[Sheroid] Evans and Duke [Thomas] could start anywhere else in the Big 12. The starters are being pushed and it shows.”

Adrian Phillips was in full attack mode yesterday playing close to the line of scrimmage in some situational scrimmaging, showing the willingness to throw his body around.

“He looks a lot more aggressive and less tentative than he did last season,” a source told Hookem.com. “He's playing with a linebacker mentality.”

Phillips is rotating in with Josh Turner, but Turner and Mykkele Thompson are still the safeties going out with the first defense more often than not. I'm told Thompson looked comfortable on Wednesday.

“He looks more confident,” a source said. “It seems like he's not worried about being in the right spot. He's just playing.”

*****

I'm told the best practice among the defensive backs was had by Sheroid Evans.

“He locked down Marcus Johnson,” a source told Hookem.com. “That's saying a lot because he's one of the better technicians on the team. Sheroid just played great press coverage. He had a great day.”

Already have an account? Sign In