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1st Fall Practice is in the books - Surprise Starters Dylan Haines & Jake Raulerson

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The Longhorn football team took the field for a early morning practice in shorts and shells and the AAS took advantage of the 30 minute media window to jot down a few observations to help us irresponsibly jump the gun on projecting a starting line-up for North Texas.

The All-Shorts Starting OL

Perkins - Flowers- Espinosa - Doyle - Raulerson

Please remember that Wickline OL depth charts are written in pencil and that he's a mad scientist.  You earn your spot from practice to practice, game to game.  Also worth noting that he has Darius James working at 2nd team tackle.

Kennedy Estelle rotated in with Raulerson.

What's the takeaway?

Wickline has identified Raulerson as his utility OL that can play five different positions.  He'll caulk in wherever needed.  I've seen Jake in person (albeit 30 pounds ago) at The Opening and he has great feet and a good motor. He was just too light in the ass to hold ground against big boy bull rushes.  We'll see if two years of S&C have ameliorated that.

This is a character test for Estelle and a message with respect to his offseason shenanigans.  He kept himself out of the suspension docket, but he flirted with it.  Basically, Wickline wants someone reliable blocking for Ash.  If Estelle can't demonstrate that reliability, he'll be the 3rd tackle.

Great to see Perkins back.  His conditioning is going to take some time.

Wickline is a "I must start the best 5" guy - clear position depth charts mean nothing to him, so neither starting guard should feel comfortable if Estelle rallies and they decide to find Perkins or Raulerson a new home.   The entire starting five on the OL is just a series of If/Then algorithms.  Not a cleanly set depth chart.  If you demand certainty, you're going to hate Wickline.

Don't freak about Doyle.  He's pretty quick off of the ball, he knows who to block and Wickline will get the most out of him.  Wickline's schemes are predicated less on destroying the defender and burying him ten yards downfield than proper angling, passing off defenders to reach the second level and getting displacement.  If you want to understand it, buy the preview.  We know more about Wickline than anyone outside of Stillwater.

We'll see if the Espinosa critics still lag actual on-field performance again this year.

Starting DBs

Thomas-Diggs-Thompson-Haines

That's walk-on Dylain Haines from Lago Vista.  Haines was a preferred walk-on (in other words, he was good enough to play Sam Houston State level football as a senior, but chose the education at Texas) and has blossomed under the Texas S&C program and gotten better as an athlete.  He has pretty mobility, was a standout former high school basketball defender (District Defensive POY) and showed up nicely in the Spring game.  There's also a reason he was behind Josh Turner, presumably.  Adrian Colbert has all of the physical characteristics - he's just a little too green.  We'll see how this plays out.

Pads are coming on shortly.

Rest of Starting D

Davis - Brown - Jackson - Reed

Hicks - Edmond - Jinkens

Shiro vs. Caleb will battle through Fall practice and the early games.  The rest of the DL is a rock.  Santos should push Edmond inside and Jinkens needs to demonstrate more reliability and comfort in space if he's to solidify his role as an undersized SLB in Strong's 4-3 Under style defense.

Full Pads Haven't Come On Yet

You know, Joe Jamail always told me that a swimmer can't get in the water after eating a sandwich unless he's wearing floaties and that...sorry.  Wrong coach.  This is worth mentioning though.  Shorts and shells are a different world from inside drills and scrimmages.  Expect competition, fluid depth charts and position changes.

Football is here.  It's time to buy the best preview on the market....

2014 Longhorn Football Prospectus: Thinking Texas Football

Available on:

Amazon (Sales: #1 in Football Coaching, #2 in Football Overall)

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