AUSTIN - The Texas Longhorns held an open practice at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Tuesday night, giving the fans a chance to get an up-close look at this season's new team.
From a new offensive line group, the freshman getting expanded roles, there was a lot to glean from what we saw on the field... and what we didn't.
Here are a few notes from Tuesday night's practice, including some interesting personnel shuffles at key positions.
Shuffling The O-Line
One of the most interesting nuggets from Tuesday night was the new-look offensive line group during 11-on-11 drills in the latter half of practice. Following the season-ending injury to Junior Angilau, the Horns were going to have to find a way to replace his presence in the line.
And in surprising fashion (or not so surprising depending on how you look at it), Steve Sarkisian and Kyle Flood ran with a group comprised of multiple freshmen in the starting line.
From left to right, true freshman Kelvin Banks was running as the first team left tackle, with Hayden Connor at left guard, Jake Majors at center, true freshman Devon Campbell at right guard, and Christian Jones at right tackle.
Cole Hutson, who has been a leader among the freshman in terms of first-team reps, is currently dealing with an injury, which explains his absence there. However, Campbell and Banks are gaining more and more traction to play early, and perhaps start, as camp goes by.
Also of note was the second team offensive line group, which, from left to right, consisted of Andrej Karic, Malik Agbo, Connor Robertson/Logan Parr splitting reps at center, Neto Umeozulu and Cameron Williams.
Either way, it appears that ALL of the freshmen from the Horns' historic 2022 offensive line class will need to be ready to contribute from day one in some way, shape, or form.
Freshmen Standing Out
Speaking of freshmen, others stood out for the Horns on Tuesday, including receiver Savion Red on offense, defensive backs Jaylon Guilbeau, Terrance Brooks and Austin Jordan, and edges Ethan Burke and Justice Finkley. Finkley and Burke in particular were very disruptive throughout the evening.
Red, we will get to more in a minute, but the comparisons Jordan Whittington made for him last week are starting to seem like they are not that outlandish. Running back Jaydon Blue also got some work out wide at receiver, which was interesting.
Wide Receivers/Replacing Neyor
Going forward, one of the biggest questions about this team is what to do about replacing Isaiah Neyor, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. Texas seemed to answer some of those questions on Tuesday, with the new(ish) starting group consisting of Iowa State transfer Tarique Milton and the usual suspects of Whittington and Xavier Worthy.
As mentioned, Red also got some extensive looks, while true freshman Brenen Thompson also had his moments to shine.
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Casey Cain also had some impressive plays, but overall the Longhorns are short here at the moment due to injuries and the Agiye Hall suspension -- something to watch going forward.
To put it bluntly, neither Hudson Card or Quinn Ewers looked to me as if they had separated themselves in the battle for the No. 1 spot on Tuesday. Both got work with the ones. Both had some really impressive plays down the field, and both made some mistakes.
Each guy has their own traits that stand out from the other at the moment, such as Ewers' generational downfield throwing ability and Card's grasp of the little details.
Ewers makes some really WOW plays with that arm and then has so 'Why?' throws. Card also makes mistakes and has issues staring down his receivers at times, but also tends to make the smarter play in the pocket.
I still predict Ewers to ultimately win the starting gig, but that is just my personal opinion. Again, neither guy looks as if he has separated himself yet. And Sarkisian is not showing his cards, whether it be in practice or to the media.
You may have noticed some key names missing in some areas, and that is because they were missing from practice, so here are some key injury notes:
- Running back Jonathan Brooks missed practice with an illness that is not considered serious.
- Receivers Troy Omiere and Jaden Alexis were limited, while Casey Cain wore a non-contact jersey.
- Offensive lineman Cole Hutson missed practice.
- Edge Alfred Collins was dressed out but did not practice
You can follow Matt Galatzan on Twitter @MattGalatzan
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