August 10, 2010

Breakdown with Greg Davis: position moves, other big news

We got a chance to talk to Greg Davis Tuesday morning. Here's the breakdown:

--The offense has spent about 60 percent of the time so far in camp under center. Davis said it's too early to say if that's how much the offense will be under center.

--The left foot injury to RG Tray Allen is a tough one because Allen had worked so hard for his moment as a senior and because it "becomes a depth issue on the line."

--Mason Walters has jumped in at the opportunity to replace Allen and Thomas Ashcraft figures to be a guy who can jump into the guard rotation, although Davis said he needs to see guys hitting each other more in practice to see who has made a move on the offensive line.

--Davis said he's seen no hesitation from Walters coming off his own foot surgery.

--Chris Whaley has moved from RB to H-back because he's about 260 and simply "a big guy," according to Davis.

--Whaley's move to H-back "has freed up more reps for Demarco Cobbs and Traylon Shead."

--Cody Johnson has lost about five pounds of "body fat" and "looks as good as he's ever looked," Davis said.

--Johnson is working as the tailback in the team's Jumbo Package. Davis doesn't expect to move a defensive tackle over to play fullback in that package this season. Right now, the fullback is Jamison Berryhill in the Jumbo Package.

--Connor Wood won a coin flip and earned the right to practice with the first team as Garrett Gilbert's backup on Monday. On Tuesday, Case McCoy got to work some with the first team. Davis said there is no separation between the two right now. But he said whoever wins the job will play this season, and the other will redshirt unless injuries dictate otherwise.

--Among the freshmen who have stood out, Davis singled out WR Mike Davis as a "natural pass catcher" who "loves the game." Davis showed up at a 5:40 am meeting at 5 am and was simply going over his playbook.

--Malcolm Williams, James Kirkendoll, John Chiles and Marquise Goodwin are the top four receivers and "none have disappointed." But Davis said DeSean Hales has really come on and "now we're trying to determine who the next group is."

--Mike Davis, Marquise Goodwin and John Chiles are all working in the slot because that's a huge position in the offense at Texas with multiple options to attack the defense (think Jordan Shipley).

--Davis said Chiles has "remade his body. Last year, he was around 220 and this year he's around 210. Last year, and I hate to say this because I played quarterback, John played with more of a quarterback's body. This year, he looks the part at receiver."

--Davis feels like James Kirkendoll has not lost any confidence after being shut out in the Nebraska and Alabama games last season. Davis cited how well Kirkendoll played against Texas A&M, including a TD catch, and added how "sometimes it's just the luck of the draw" when a receiver gets a lot of attention and when he doesn't.

--At tight end, Greg Smith and Barrett Matthews continue to work at both TE and H-back. "Barrett can run and we hope he can really help us stretch the field from the tight end position," Davis said.


MY TAKE: The Whaley to H-back is big news. You have to wonder how Whaley will ultimately take that and if it's the first step toward him moving to another position, possibly on defense.

With Davis, Goodwin and Chiles all working in the slot, that's a lot of talent at that position. Hope there's enough plays to go around.

Davis said Connor Wood did not get first-team reps ahead of Case McCoy this week as Garrett Gilbert's backup because he was ahead in the race. It was purely by coin flip. Davis said Case McCoy came in at 190 pounds, a little ahead of Colt, who came in as a freshman at around 175 pounds.

You get the sense DeSean Hales is coming on strong and that Mike Davis is clearly a guy the coaches trust right now. Davis said Darius White is "a big guy who can run" but didn't go into the kind of detail he did about Mike Davis catching the ball and being almost an hour early for a meeting.

Matthews is looking like a key guy, too. If he's strong as a TE/H-back that will take reps away from Whaley, who is ONLY training at H-back right now, not tight end.

Davis said he's happy with the work of Tre Newton and Fozzy Whittaker, but it's clear the coaches want to see more of what Cobbs and Shead can do.

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