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Mack's practice thoughts


I wasn't paying attention to the defensive line so somehow I failed to notice Mack's current leaning towards Sam Acho as your starting 3-tech in 2010. I had assumed Jones, Sacho, Okafor and Randall as the 4 best linemen but I forgot that Sacho was the one who moved inside last year in passing situations.

He's really a sacrificing leader if he's willing to switch to tackle in his senior year when he's poised to break out at end. He spoke to the fans after practice and led us in a strange rendition of "The Eyes of Texas" where there was an awkward moment of everyone slowly rising to their feet to join in like the back pew joining in late for the Lord's prayer after dozing off at Easter mass that had me and my friend Ryan laughing. I'll point out that Geoff Ketchum didn't pay proper homage at that point but skipped out after communion.

Anyways, this begs the question of how Sacho can do from the 3-tech and whether anyone can step up to push him back to end. Again, he at least played inside in passing situations last year and stunted inside in the odd fronts so he's not unused to taking on interior OL. Certainly Muschamp can protect him by playing him as one of 2 5-tech defensive ends in the 3-4 look. He's listed at 260 but he looks pretty big these days and it's possible he might be Defensive tackle-sized by the fall if he's not actually heavier than that already. He was always a long, lanky guy before and it looks like he's starting to fill out.

Mack also talked about Jim Caldwell coming and talking to the coaches and players (including Sacho again) and reaffirmed the link between the Colts and Longhorn offenses. The pin and pull outside zone Texas has used sparingly the last few years (borrowed from Indy) was a featured in practice yesterday from under center and was a pretty good looking play even for the big guys.

Nothing on Vaccaro potentially replacing Gideon but I did notice something in 7 on 7 drills I failed to report earlier. We all remember the "Big Nickel" last year when the Earl of Pickshire would step up and take on the slot receiver and Muschamp would play a white-wash 2 deep with Gideon and Brewster? Yes? Kafka is nodding, I'm going to continue.

Well our old friend Ben Wells was making an appearance in the Earl's place on the slot receiver in the drills leaving Vaccaro and Scott to their preferred activities of intimidation and thuggery from the 2-deep shell. Ben Wells was one of the more tantalizing future options at safety before he wet the bed as a freshman against Baylor, Christian Scott burned down Lawrence, Kansas, and Earl Thomas assumed the titles and properties he holds today.

Every time I've seen him since he's been making vicious hits and I would love to see him contribute before his graduation. The impending lack of depth at corner along with an ability to cover a slot receiver could earn him a spot next year as the starting nickel when Aaron Williams leaves us for a huge payday after stomping through the Big 12 next year like Sasquatch through the mosh pit of a Green Day show.

Scipio Tex:

The king is back and on some kind of coke-induced writing spree as an homage to the memory of Corey Haim, a new testament of the wonderlic, and the obligatory mockery of the Texas A&M pro-day. If you aren't reading these or if you text with your right thumb you're probably gay.

The Corey Haim piece is particularly inspiring, literally of several reader comments that made me laugh. And really that's what we'll remember most.

NFL Draft:

Cherokee people. Cherokee tribe. So proud to liive. So proud to diiiiie!

New mock draft up from Kiper and McShay together. These are the kinds of guys that you hear talking about another team and will absorb their info without questioning and then you hear them talk about your team and think, "wait, these guys don't actually know what they're talking about."

If it wasn't clear from that introduction, Sam Bradford somehow overcame Bob Stoops curse and is projected as the no. pick. As Kiper warns, "The Rams are now thinking it might be a greater risk NOT to draft Bradford", which if true makes the Rams front office a pretty stupid bunch.

The current going rate for a no. 1 pick in the NFL makes the winning of that drafting position a dubious award. Projecting quarterbacks into the league has been something of a crapshoot because each player needs the right fit in order to succeed. Bill Parcells demonstrated awareness of this when he signed Jake Long to a contract and locked up a sure-thing and useful player for their system. I think Sam Bradford's a fantastic quarterback prospect but there is no way he is a safer investment than Suh. What's more, a dominant defensive tackle isn't of considerably less value to a team than a franchise quarterback.

When people point to quarterback-driven teams as evidence that locking up a superstar there should be priority one you might notice that they are always pointing to teams that have some of the best offensive lines in the country that allow those signal-callers to rise up to the level of legends.

And however much potential Bradford has it's not like a quarterback of his talents won't be available again in the future. No one has had the chance to draft a tackle as good as Suh in a long time. This isn't a right guard or a weakside linebacker this is a guy that can heavily influence every snap on defense. It's a worthy investment.

Meanwhile, 2 of the top 3 picks in the draft are Sooners and from the 2009 BCS "runner-up". I wonder how much Stoops is paying McShay and Kiper for the hype...


Oh yeah, Texas played a post-season basketball game. They defeated Iowa St. 82-75 behind a an effort from James that included 28 points, 16 boards, an assist, 3 steals and a block with only 1 turnover. Other notables were a double-double from Gary Johnson that also included 4 rare assists and a 16-5 from Pittman.

J'Covan Brown played 3 minutes to 22 from Jai Lucas as Texas stuck with a bigger lineup most of the game. The results of the recent big lineups have been pretty solid since Texas has been able to find high-percentage offense from it and shot 47.6% against the Cyclones while out-rebounding them 44-28.

I think this team goes as far as James can carry them, he' s playing like a man-possessed and he clearly sees the team's tournament success with him at the helm as the make-or-break for his draft status in the NBA.

I don't remember if this has come up in my columns before but I actually like James as a power forward in the NBA. I don't see any reason he wouldn't continue to rebound at a high rate, his outside shooting has improved and is fairly good already, and he can take NBA 4's off the dribble like in college. His defense on other biggs is solid. He's not going to be a 1st or 2nd option but I think his outstanding rebounding+assortment of other skills can find him a roster spot. I see him as Brandon Bass with a better work ethic.