August 8, 2011

Early thoughts from coordinators as pads go on

--Bryan Harsin doesn't want to go into the season with two quarterbacks. He said the only way he'd play a second quarterback during the season is if that QB was used "situationally."

--Harsin said the scrimmage coming up on Saturday will help start to separate the quarterbacks, seeing them in pressure situations. Major Applewhite echoed those thoughts.

--When asked about Garrett Gilbert specifically and again when asked about David Ash specifically, Harsin made the answer about all the quarterbacks. He said they've all done things over the summer to improve their throwing (accuracy) and footwork.

--On the offensive line, Harsin said he likes the way Stacy Searels has been moving guys around seeing how they handle playing in different spots. Harsin thinks after the scrimmage on Saturday the coaches will have a better picture of who should be playing where on the O-line.

--Harsin thinks there's depth at the WR position. He's not sure at this point who the top four or five guys are. But when he was asked about Mike Davis specifically, he said Davis has been great from a leadership and work ethic standpoint.

"Mike practices hard," Harsin said. "He's really a competitor and I think he brings a lot of energy to practice. He has a lot of physical tools. But I like his attitude. I like the way he practices. If he'll keep doing that, I like what he brings to the team."

--Harsin said he's serious about playing a lot of players and finding a spot on the field for guys who work hard in practice and can contribute. He said that was a signature at Boise State that he is determined to bring to Texas. Lots of personnel groupings.

--Harsin will be up in the press box during games. WR coach Darrell Wyatt will be in charge of organizing personnel groupings on the sideline, and fellow OC Major Applewhite will be on the sideline. All the QBs will be on headsets signaling in the plays.

--Harsin said he has the talent he needs to put together the kind of running game he wants to run.

--Tight ends are doing well, and in Harsin's offense, there's a lot put on the TEs. "They are a jack of all trades in our offense, and we're not having any busts right now," Harsin said. "Coach Chambers has them well prepared, and I'm excited about that group."

--When asked about Malcolm Brown, Harsin took the answer big picture about all the freshmen and said they are doing a good job. No specifics about Brown.

--Harsin installed 30 percent of the offense in the spring. These are the base plays that form the offense. Now, Harsin will decide what plays to add based on the personnel.

--Major Applewhite said some of the mixups from the spring are gone now that the players have had the summer to learn the offense.

--Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron have both done a nice job up to this poing, Applewhite said.

--The coaches want to put the QBs in pressure situations starting this week in practice with the pads on (starting Monday afternoon) before narrowing the race at QB.

"Once you get into the situational plays, the third downs, the red zone, the 2-minute drill, that's when you get to see the quarterback at work more than just operating the base plays," Applewhite said.

--Coaches aren't even close to narrowing the RB committee. Applewhite said in terms of first and second-down situations, you'd like to have three RBs who can handle the load.

--The other backs can be used situationally if needed.

--Applewhite said it's too early to have a "biggest concern." Again, he said the scrimmage on Saturday will help reveal who performs well under the pressure of a live situation.

--The personnel groupings of Harsin's offense will be geared more "to a specific play" as opposed to the Texas offense last year, which tended to use one personnel grouping predominantly and put that grouping in different sets.

--On Garrett Gilbert, Applewhite said you don't see him trying to process things as much. You're seeing him just play because he's familiar with the offense. More confidence.

--On David Ash, Applewhite said "he's done a great job of understanding the scheme, and he's a physical specimen. He's very strong. He's a big kid. He has a natural feel about the position. He's done a good job."

--Applewhite feels like the WRs "will be a strong point for us." The players are talented. Just inexperienced. But talented. Said the lack of rapport between QB and WR is "overrated." He said a comfort level between a QB and WR is beneficial, but it doesn't have to be a detriment.

--Bryant Jackson, a DB-turned-WR, is picking things up quickly.

--Blaine Irby made a diving catch in practice the other day, and it reminded Major of the pre-knee injury Irby. Coaches are excited about the TE position.

--Foswhitt Whittaker has been really good. Really good.

--On the work of strength coach Bennie Wylie, Applewhite said, "Bennie not only did a great job of getting the team in shape physically but also mentally. You can tell the team came together over the summer. And that's all you can ask for."

--Because of all the shifting and motion before the snap, there's more for each player to learn, but Applewhite said the players are not suffering from the administrative penalties they were committing in the spring.

--Manny Diaz said his players are having to work overtime mentally and physically to get the defense installed against Bryan Harsin's unconventional offense.

"In this offense you've got guys coming out of helicopters and secret holes in the ground, so you're constantly struggling just to get lined up correctly before the play begins," Diaz said.

"But that makes us better because what we are selling to our players isthat going against them every day in practice when we get into a game and an offense is just standing there, our guys will say, 'Coach what are they doing?' And in that case, we get to just line up and play.

"That's what you want. You want the games to be physically easier and for the games to be for sure mentally easier. And that's the beneift of going up against our offense every day."

--Diaz said there's no offense in the SEC that compares to the Harsin offense. He said Harsin's offense "presents a lot of questions that you as a defense have to come up with answers for."

--Diaz said the players have come back from the summer with more confidence. He said they haven't blinked in the extreme heat. "That comes from confidence, and that's a credit to our strength staff," Diaz said.

--"We've got a bit of a three-man race going on at CB with Adrian Phillips, Carrington Byndom and Quandre Diggs. But A.J. White has had a really good summer as well."

--Diaz said DT Greg Daniels had a good summer in the weight room and has "really changed his body."

--Seniors need to be the best players and feels like LBs Emmanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson have laid down a pretty good example for the rest of the team. Said Jordan Hicks and Demarco Cobbs round out the top four LBs on the team.

--Diaz said he doesn't Alex Okafor has any idea how good he can be. Diaz hopes Okafor will have some early success in the season and realize just how good he can be.

--The DEs are a "glamour position" in the Texas defense because they have to rush the passer and drop into coverage. Said Dravannti Johnson has also had a great summer and "remade his body."

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