Texas Longhorns Football Practice Report, August 8th

Scott Halleran

Full pads tomorrow.

Note: OT Desmond Harrison is still not practicing.  Wearing street clothes, in fact.  I have to laugh so I don't cry.  The readers on this blog could negotiate the NCAA Clearinghouse in 45 minutes if we set our minds to it, but it's a baffling mystery to the perennial underachievers in football academic support.

**

The Running Backs were available to the media after tonight's session:

Joe Bergeron

Joey B has lost some lb's.  He's down 20 from last year, weighing in around 228.  That speaks to the change in tempo, but I think it also speaks to a coaching staff selling Bergeron on the need to be able to make better cuts on our base run.  Not to mention matching him up on LBs in the passing game.

Over the summer, I worked out hard. I kept running, lifted more weights; I got stronger and worked on more footwork. We have all improved. I just decided I needed to do it more with looking at the new up-tempo offense. With me being a bigger back, I understand that I have to keep that role. Keeping that as well as dropping weight would help the team.

In fact, Bergeron is willing to make ANY sacrifice to win...

I am in love with oatmeal pies but it is my job. I have to make sacrifices. I would give up eating sweets if that means we will win one more or two more games or go undefeated.

That's a guy who will die on the field to win.  Or pass up on eating a delicious treat that spikes his glycemic level. Either way.  We can count on him.

Malcolm Brown

Malcolm has flashed ability at Texas over his two years, but injuries and unreliability have clouded his role.  After answering some injury questions (Uh, duh, Malcolm, is it frustrating to get injured and stuff? - I may be paraphrasing) he expressed some mature sentiments with respect to not being "the Man" and playing in a rotation.

They (the coaches) believe in the rotation and as you can see, a lot of the great teams have two or three backs in their stable. Everything is working really well with that, and we're switching out. The rotation is going very well.  I like it. The group of running backs is so selfless that that does not matter. This whole team is selfless. [With] us rotating in, we are cheering each other on. Whoever is in the game we are rooting for them. If someone has a 100 yards, that is great. We will cheer them on.

A willing acceptance of his role is important for this team.  Hoping for a healthy and productive 2013 for Brown.

Johnathan Gray

I left the best for last. I got a lot of off-season intelligence that Gray showed significant physical improvement and exhibited one of the best work ethics on the team.  The Spring game and his comfort in the new offense all but cemented that he's first among equals in the RB rotation.

But Gray is thinking more about the team:

Everybody is coming together as a group, we're brothers. It's calling one another if someone isn't here and making sure that everyone shows up to what they are supposed to do and holding them accountable.

I hope that's true, because the record for Mack Brown teams without strong internal accountability structures isn't great.  With them, however, the players succeed even without optimized support.  And they compensate for Mack's psychological hurdles.

The running backs made a significant contribution in the passing game last year.  Expect that to increase.  If you watch Longhorn Scott's Video Preview from the Spring game, you'll see how a lot of our run/pass options are built off of interlocking concepts between our receivers attacking space, an inside zone run, and the RB in the flat.  Gray confirms that:

Yeah. You're in an offense where you can run it, pass it, the quarterback can run it. Now we're getting into a potent offense where all three of the running backs, myself, [junior running back] Malcolm [Brown] and [junior running back] Joe [Bergeron] are in it.  You can see a little bit of everything.  We are even getting out into the flat. It's a great opportunity to run the ball and catch the ball at the same time.

Chalk up the RB position for 60+ combined catches this year. Needless to say, we've distilled a ton of thoughts into the e-book to explain further what Gray is talking about.

Full pads tomorrow, ladies and gentlemen.

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