First let’s get the bad news out of the way. Evidently the Staff wasn’t pleased with BarkingCarnival/Recruitocosm posting information on specific plays along with specific information on practices. Our sources caught heat today, and to a man said they must be less specific. For critical readers out there asking why other sites were using non-specific, ad hoc reporting centered around how they "heard" players "looked", this was the reason. These pay sites have been doing this much longer than us, so they’re much more adept at keeping the peace with the program. For that, all I can say is "our bad". At the ‘Cosm, we’ve always approached this whole thing as fans trying to provide information while having fun doing it. We’re not into hurting anyone’s livelihood, so we’re going to back off with the specificity of our reports especially when it comes to relaying specific plays.
On the other side of the coin, reporting stuff like Notre Dame joining forces with Texas and David Ash playing as a true fish is still in play. But practice reports, for now, will remain high level unless our sources grant us permission to be more specific. The Asset has approved us to release certain non-specific information, so here goes.
In the fifth practice the good news is that the offense has pulled even with the defense. Leading up to scrimmage work, that statement seems like pie in the sky since the defense tends to outplay the offensive players in drills because individually the defense is a bit more talented. In the Oklahoma drill for instance the defense consistently beats the offense, but move on to scrimmage work and a funny thing happens—scheme more than makes up for the talent gap. Bryan Harsin knows he has an "offensive tackle problem" so the wily coordinator, with skills learned under Chris Petersen and consecrated on the blue turf, is doing something strange; he’s putting his charges in the best position for success. He’s chipping edge rushing phenoms with fullbacks to help out OT's Allen and Walters, he’s running ghost motion to create indecision and false steps that give his OT’s some advantage, he’s max protecting and using two man routes to exploit his advantage in the secondary while mitigating pass pro issues. In other words, Harsinwhite is running honest to goodness offense that doesn’t take what the defense gives him, but exploits where the defense is weakest.
In tonight’s practices, Mason Walters and Tray Allen were the biggest beneficiaries of scheme because they were able to keep Gilbert, Ash, and company clean in the pocket in pass pro versus beasts like Okafor and Jeffcoat for the most part. The results were Shipley, Davis, and White finding room to maneuver against Texas’ porous secondary. White had an especially encouraging day with a couple of nice catches in team drills is what we've heard.
Running backs continue to show well, but tonight they did so in the passing game. Joe Bergeron, Fozzy Whitaker, and Jeremy Hills all showed solid hands.
In terms of QB play, Gilbert had another good day, Ash made some plays with his feet, and Case McCoy did some pre-snap things that had the coaches encouraged.
Offensively, the Asset tells us this team is MUCH better than the one he saw in the spring. A lot of that has to do with scheme. Thank you Bryan Harsin and Major Applewhite.
On the defensive side of the ball, the front seven may be the best in the conference, especially if you’re watching drill work. The elephant in the room is that the Horns may have a full blown crisis in the secondary unless they can figure out personnel in a hurry. There’s talk that Diaz may just try to get as much athleticism in the back four/five as possible and that includes moving Adrian Phillips to safety and playing Quandre Diggs at corner. This would allow Kenny Vaccaro to play closer to the line of scrimmage in the nickel to take advantage of his physicality. But if tonight was any indication, the Longhorns will have to address busts in coverage asap. Don’t be surprised if guys like Mykkele Thompson and Josh Turner get into the mix as well if things don’t improve.
Talking to the Asset based on the woes in the secondary and praise for the LB’s, the UCLA game versus their power rushing attack is looking positive while the BYU game vs. their spread attack is looking worrisome. Funny that.
That’s it for now.