Another day, another practice report from The Asset—but this time it’s tackle football of the full pad persuasion. Again, not a lot of information from this workout as the coaches are doing more teaching than physical work, but there were at least some instructive moments relayed from our eye in the sky.
First we’ll start with what’s on everyone’s mind from national pundits to local Longhorn fanatics. Who’s going to be Texas’ QB? The nod still seems to go to Garrett Gilbert who has turned in back to back solid performances. No mistakes today, but there weren’t any eye-popping throws. The coaches want Gilbert to manage the game and avoid mistakes and he’s done that well in the first few workouts.
If the season started today then conventional wisdom says the Horns would trot Gilbert out there but don’t be surprised if the first QB off the bench is David Ash. To continue the theme of these early workouts, Ash showed flashes of his elite skill-set by making the Throw of the Day. The true freshman, throwing into the tightest of windows, hit a streaking DJ Grant in stride to beat Emmanuel Acho who had underneath coverage along with Blake Gideon over the top. The throw drew hoots and hollers from players on and off the field, as well as hugs and chest bumps from the co-coordinators. It’s the type of throw that made Colt McCoy so successful on the 40—the type of throw that instills confidence in the rest of a team.
The Asset reports that Ash stands tall in the pocket, delivers the ball on time, and has the best combination of arm strength, accuracy, and physical ability of any QB on campus. And it’s becoming more obvious with every practice that Ash is going to see the field early and often this season.
It’s important to note that Recruitocosm reported back in March that Ash would get some early snaps as a change of pace QB to take advantage of his physical skills. It appears that Bryan Harsin admitted as much to InsideTexas.com earlier this week saying that one QB would start and another would come in for special situations. If Gilbert falters, don’t be surprised if Ash plays more than just situationally.
If Ash is the biggest surprise, then Joe Bergeron might be the second biggest. Bergeron, by the Asset’s count, trucked at least four guys tonight in both team and drill work. Nasty and mean were descriptors used in describing Bergeron’s running style in today’s workouts. Smart money says he will get carries alongside Malcolm Brown and the upperclassmen this season, especially if tonight was any indication.
Darius White also had a great day both catching the ball and in the run game with a couple of end arounds that went for big yards. White’s a long strider and his gate seemed to screw up the angles that pursuing defenders were taking. If the light comes on for this young man, then along with Shipley and Mike Davis, the Longhorns might have one of the most talented WR units in the conference.
The winners in the trenches tonight were Mason Walters, David Snow, and Trey Hopkins. Thomas Ashcraft blocked well unless it was against Desmond Jackson who has a knack for getting his pads low and exploding through gaps. Big Nasty was the star of the defensive line along with Alex Okafor and Kheeston Randall. You can’t double Kheeston and sleep on the gap shooting Desmond Jackson at the 5-tech as teams will certainly find out this season. Okafor continues to be a full grown man on the edge.
Overall, the defense probably got the better of the offense in team drills and scrimmage work, but the offense has closed the gap in the last two practices. The offensive line is winning some battles and the offense as a whole is causing some confusion with scheme. The tackles are still a work in progress in pass pro, but they won their share of battles in the run game today. At least the last two practices have given the once beleaguered Oline something to build on heading into this weekend’s scrimmage.
That’s all for now.