Desmond Harrison is still out, pending academic review. Our nation's long national nightmare endures. A football program held hostage by an academic support staff that tries to correct transcript errors with liquid paper...
...on their iPads.
The Longhorns made defensive players available to the media and they had some interesting things to say.
First up, Lil Giant, aka Quandre Diggs:
Quandre is all about the locker room and brotherhood:
You've been around these guys all throughout the summer, but that's just weights and running. When you get camp going there's tackling, covering and blocking and those are the things we really came here to do – play football, be under the lights and be with your teammates and brothers each and every day. During two-a-days you're with these guys all day, every day. It's a great bonding experience. It's great because being around those guys, who are like my brothers, puts a smile on my face each and every day. It's a blessing to be around the great guys on this team because we have very different personalities and are all different types of people. When you can mix those things together, you can have a great product. It's special to be around.
Lil Giant is a relentlessly positive dude. Once he's done with NFL, I'm going to get him to write gridiron themed Hallmark cards. Quandre made me think back to riding to House Park in the "yellow dawg" vinyl seat buses that stank of forty years of accumulated sweat, hoping to make a play that would make it on the Friday Football High School Round Up.
Adrian Phillips has a lot to prove this year and there are a lot of indicators that he could have redemptive 2013. He's certainly being asked to take on a leadership role for a secondary that needs to cohere better than they did in 2012.
We're making a lot of noise. There are a lot of big hits going on. Of course, [defensive backs coach Duane] Akina is always energized. People are going to make mistakes, of course, and when you do that he's going to jump you. But as far as making noise, we're doing our job.
"Noise" meaning communication, hitting, and energy. Not random shouting as if they all have Tourette's.
Is Adrian aware that last year's D wasn't up to standard?
We know what we did last year, and we know it wasn't our standard. This year, our first thing is to be physical, do the right thing and do the little things right. When you get there, hit hard and wrap around with your feet.
Yep. He is. Wrap around with your feet? Is Akina teaching our DBs the Brazilian jiu-jitsu guard? How awesome would it be to see Carrington Byndom triangle choke Jace Amaro after he catches a post route?
On Kendall Sanders and Marcus Johnson...
They're all playing well. Kendall and Marcus are doing a great job. The rest of the receivers are doing well too. [Wide receivers coach Darrell] Wyatt, he's really stressing them. He's trying to be just as hard as Coach Akina. He wants them to be great. Of course, we know the offense. They took a lot of heat last year as well, so coach Wyatt is on them just as hard. They're stepping up to the plate.
I think Shipley and Davis missing time will ultimately be a blessing. None of these inexperienced guys can hide from scrutiny out there and in an offense which values precision and decision-making, Wyatt is going to spend a considerable amount of time with his foot up some asses. They'll grow.
How about the benefits to the defense of seeing up tempo?
We've been in it for awhile. We were in it in the spring, and it was a little tough in the spring. But the tempo is even faster now. As a defense, that's what you want. When you practice against that for a whole camp for however many days that we are in here, by the time the game comes, we're going to be all right.
I think it helps our own self-scouting immensely.
Next up, Jackson Jeffcoat
Jeffcoat confirmed something I'd heard, but couldn't verify...
It's great to be back. I missed the spring. I was good to go in the spring but they wanted to hold me out and have me ready for the season. I was doing a lot of drill work but no hitting. It's great to go hit somebody and finally be back out there with my teammates.
On the merits of having a mature football team
Guys are more confident. We have a lot of leaders this year and a lot of seniors this year. Guys are able to get these young guys picked up and get them right and ready to go. If somebody is not ready to practice, we make sure we get them ready. Last year we were just playing new guys - guys that hadn't played before; and that may be why people didn't seem in tune with each other. But yeah, I guess you could say that we have guys that are familiar with each other and that have played already. We all kind of know how each other plays and that helps us ultimately.
Experience matters. I was extremely patient in 2011 - to the point of being accused of being a Kool Aid guzzling apologist - but it was based on a realistic understanding of how bad things had gotten and how many freshmen and sophomores we were playing at key positions. You just can't realistically win with that mix. 2012 had some very frustrating moments, but the blooding process continued. Now we're here.
No excuses in 2013. Win the league. Put out or get out. It's that simple.