Welcome to Barking Carnival, where membership has its privileges, and practice reports. I just caught up with the Asset and he had a veritable jug of Kool Aid for information after yesterday’s dismal practice report—if you’re a fan of offense that is.
We’ll start with, what else, the Quarterbacks. A time honored Texas tradition is rooting for the backup and this report will do nothing to extinguish those flames. The Asset tells us that David Ash had a masterful day today especially in picking apart Manny Diaz’s zone. So much so that when I asked the Asset about the wide receivers, he replied, "they had a quiet day."
They dropped a lot of balls?
"No. They basically caught everything but they didn’t have to do anything special but turn and catch Ash’s ball delivered in a pinpoint window."
The report was so glowing that I started to think that perhaps the Asset is just an Ash-man, so I asked him if he was biased in his assessment. He simply replied. "No. You’ll see."
The Asset went on to tell us that Ash had some solid work against the zone, had some well timed scrambles for big yards, and was the beneficiary of several zone-read designed runs for solid yardage. He continues to play at a really high level.
Connor Wood had the second best day. He seemed to settle in and made some good throws with the ones in the snaps he got.
Case McCoy had a Case McCoy type of day. He made some throws that leave you scratching your head but he’s effective.
Garrett Gilbert struggled in the early practice but he came back and played solid in the second one.
As for snaps with the first team, David Ash took 50%, Case McCoy had 30%, while Gilbert and Wood had 10% each we’re told.
One of the reasons the quarterbacks had more success today was because the Oline did a MUCH better job of picking up the Manny Diaz blitzing Rubik's Cube. They still blew an assignment or two on some End-Tackle stunts but today’s performance was night and day better than Tuesday. Left to right, the first string was as follows, Allen, Snow, Espinosa, Walters, Hopkins. Hopkins had epic battles with Okafor and again, he held his own on the edge.
At tailback, the starter’s snaps were distributed 40% to Fozzy, 25% each to Johnson and Bergeron and then 10% to the rest. Malcolm Brown had four carries with the ones and once again he was productive. The Asset guessed that Brown averaged 5-6 yards per carry and displayed some pile moving power. In fact, the Asset says Brown trucked Jackson Jeffcoat flat on his back for a nifty 5 yard run. He’s healthy I guess.
The aforementioned receivers didn’t put any balls on the carpet which is welcomed news. In three wide looks, Davis, White, and Shipley got most of the starters snaps with Harris working into the group. No word on Onyegbule from the Asset, but I’m hearing from another source that he’s vying for a spot in the two deep and probably won’t redshirt.
Most of the wow plays came from the TE’s, especially DJ Grant who had a huge day between the hashes vs. zone defense. Ash and Grant are developing a nice little connection we’re told. If Grant can start bringing his lunch pail in the run game, he’ll be a nice weapon. Irby didn’t get as many snaps because it seems they’re trying to bring him along slowly according to our source.
Some final notes from the Asset on the offense: they ran a ton of formations today, but most of the time it was single back personnel. Lots of two tights, three-wide, and motioning H-back looks. And as always, lots of motion in general. The offense probably won today which is good after the whipping they took yesterday.
Defensively there wasn’t much to report other than snap distribution. Along the first team Dline you had Okafor, Howell, Randall, and Jeffcoat for the most part. Taylor Bible had a really good day including splitting double teams that resulted in losses on two separate occasions. The Asset tells us his pad level was really good and he showed a surprisingly good first step.
As we mentioned earlier, the blitzing by the front seven didn’t bear much fruit today, but the Randall/Okafor stunt was hell on wheels leading to a couple of sacks and a hurry. The Texas OL has to get that on lockdown and I’m convinced they will after the improvement they showed today in blitz pickup. Desmond Jackson had some difficulty in the run game we’re told as well, but he'll make it difficult on an opposing guard in pass pro.
The linebackers had a pretty average day according to our source. "Nothing really stood out. Hicks, Robinson, and Acho did what they do. Cobbs played with the ones as well."
The defensive backs had a difficult day in zone coverage and you can probably figure out why when I list the starters. Base 4-3 you had Gideon and Brewster at safety, with Diggs and Byndom manning the corners. Phillips was the guy when the Horns went nickel. Mykkele Thompson continues to be rewarded for his performance as he was the first safety off the bench.
Kenny Vaccaro dressed but didn’t do anything other than conditioning we’re told. The Horns need Kenny back and healthy in a big way because the secondary was torched without his athleticism back there.
That’s all for now. See you manana.
Overall, one thing to note, the Asset said the chemistry is markedly better than it was one year ago. And that’s August to August or before the Horns lost a single ballgame in 2010 he says. The players feel like the best guys will play regardless of who you are or how long you’ve been there.
I then paid the Asset with smiles.