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Practice: Day Twelve

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Mack Brown had a press conference today. Some pretty good information about the team that is taking shape.

He talked about playing Tray Allen on both sides of the line, and he mentioned some players who played more than one position at Texas. Now it's not that hard to be a defensive tackle and also be our short yardage fullback. It's just not. And then he mentioned something surprising.

Henry Melton played two places until we really found the place that he fit the best, and that was defensive end more than running back because it just didn’t fit him as well.

Wait. You're telling us that Henry Melton was playing running back and defensive end at the same time? I'm not sure that is true. And if so, it's no credit to our coaches that it took them two years to figure out that he was better on defense.

But guys like Ryan Roberson, Dravanti Johnson and Dominique Jones are truly playing two positions that require different skill sets.

D.J. Monroe is getting some looks at both wide receiver and running back. They're trying to get the ball in his hands. Cynical HJ says they want to get some touchdowns out of him before he flunks out.

Said he feels good about either playing with a fifth defensive back or a third linebacker, and that Christian Scott is a hard hitter. I think Scott can play either of those positions in certain packages so he gives them some flexibility. Dude can fill.

Dan Buckner is helping out at tight end, mostly flexed out in passing downs like Jordan Shipley last year. Barrett Mathews can play tight or be flexed. Buckner is also in the mix at receiver with Shipley, Malcolm Williams, James Kirkendoll, Brandon Collins and John Chiles.

Have the injuries at tight end forced them to change anything offensively?

No, what we’d like to do is still be able to run the ball from the I-formation, we’d still be able to run the ball from one-back and we’d like to be able to run similar plays from multiple sets. That’s what we want to do. We’re being stubborn right now; we’re trying to continue to do what we’re going to do.

Antwan Cobb and Cody Johnson are playing well at fullback so it's conceivable that the I could work, and I'd like for them to be able to run the same play out of multiple sets. We'll see. I rewatched the Oklahoma State game the other night, and the Cowboys got a final chance to win because we couldn't punch it in on four tries inside the ten.

Three man rotation at defensive tackle right now, and it sounds like Kheeston Randall will be starting alongside Lamarr Houston.

Right know you would have Kheeston (Randall), who’s playing great. He has had an outstanding camp. We’re excited. He’s made one of the biggest jumps on our team.

Great to hear because we need someone who can stop the run as well as rush the passer from that position. Ben Alexander is very one dimensional. Calvin Howell will play before Derek Johnson because he's in better shape.

Sherrod Harris strained one of the muscles in his ribcage so Garrett Gilbert is the second team quarterback right now.

Brown says they have five linebackers who could be in the rotation, and Dustin Earnest has lost weight and is playing well.

So what are the concerns?

We’d like to get to five defensive tackles. That’d be really important for us to make sure that we’ve got five who can play. In this league there are so many passes and we’re continuing to work on defensive ends in pass situations if the tackles need to come out to save their legs. So what is the package of defensive ends that go in? Trying to get more depth at defensive tackle, and the same thing at tight end (are the main questions). Who are we now at tight end? What can we do and how will that affect us in who we feature and what we do going through the season? Those are probably the biggest unanswered questions.

Howell will probably end up in the rotation, but if he wants a fifth player it has to come from either an end or Johnson or Allen.

Pictures. Derek Johnson is huge.

Brown has now corrected the spelling of Joe Greene's last name on his blog.