March 19, 2008

Notebook: Horns get back at it

It's no secret that the Texas Longhorns haven't always stressed live, full-contact workouts during the Mack Brown era.

In fact, Brown has mentioned on numerous occasions that one of the real battles he faces as a coach each is year is trying to find the right blend of contact, while maximizing your efforts to keep the team healthy.

On the heels of a 10-3 season the Longhorns have decided that there are too many questions marks to hold back this spring.

"We had some young guys and some guys that needed to get battle tested," Greg Davis said on Tuesday night. "So we're doing a lot more hitting. The scrimmage before spring break we had 125 snaps. All of it was live. I can't remember in the 10 years that I've been here having that many live snaps in a scrimmage. We were able to evaluate a bunch of different things because of it."

Davis went on to explain that there's a time for both methods, but there is too much evaluation taking place to take the foot off the gas.

"There's a place for thudding and not bringing the back to the ground, but at the same time when you do that you can't always see who breaks tackles and who steps out of this and gives you a fresh set of downs."

All is better than some

One of the biggest challenges that a new coordinator always faces is the installation of a new system and terminology that is completely foreign to his players.

Muschamp and the rest of the defensive staff aren't wasting any time in trying to install the majority of the new concepts and language, even if it does cause a fair amount of headaches at this stage.

"I've been real pleased with the effort and the attitude and the kids have been receptive," Muschamp explained. "We are kind of teaching the whole-part-whole theory. We're throwing a whole lot at them right now. They have been very receptive at what we're trying to do. It's been a great attitude."

Shaking every bush

Position changes are a regular part of college football. Mack Brown has had success with moving players around to different sides of the ball throughout his career at Texas.

Even John Mackovic hit a home run when he switched former high school linebacker Kwame Cavil to the offensive side of the ball.

In explaining the decision to move former tight end Ahmard Howard to defensive end this week, Muschamp said that this time of the year is the best time to tinker with these types of personnel moves.

"We've moved some guys around," Muschamp said. If you don't move them around you never know what they can do. We try to move them around and get them to some different spots, which is frustrating for the kids because it's a new position and they have to learn a new terminology. Again, the kids are great here. They have been very receptive to what we're trying to do. We got to move guys around in order to find out what they can do."

No surprises

Brown admitted several times last season that the Longhorns were not prepared for the schemes and attacks that several teams used against them last season.

As this year's team prepares for the 2008 season, one of its biggest goals is to be prepared in a way where nothing should catch them off guard.

According to Muschamp, there's just no room for the unexpected.

"We are preparing for the whole season," Muschamp said. "We are going to face everything that (opposing teams) do on offense. We've got to prepare for the entire season. In order to do that we've got to install a lot of what we're trying to do right now. Introduce it and then fine tune it in the fall."

Quote of the day

"The bottom line in every situation is we want to get the best 11 on the field and that's what we're going to try and do." - Muschamp on what he's concentrating on with his defense.

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