August 29, 2007

This week's Locker Room Report

Q: (Archie Holmes) - How do you feel that Duane Akina will approach stopping the run as compared to previous years? We really appeared to play a lot of base defense last year and I wonder if Akina will stick with that philosophy or move to more of a run-blitz scheme

A: That's a good question to get us off and running. I think the first thing to remember is that the scheme itself won't be a lot different than what Texas fans have seen in the past. The difference is likely going to be in the way that the Longhorns use their scheme. Look for more blitzing and a more diverse use of personnel packages than you've seen in recent years. Akina doesn't like to sit back on his heels and wait for the action to come to him. Instead, he's going to pick his spots and when he does, it will have a purpose. The fact that he has a potentially dominant front four and a veteran group of linebackers makes him feel like this is going to be a good run defense.

Q: (McGuapo) - IF Limas Sweed, Billy Pittman and Jordan Shipley are all unable to contribute as expected this season, how much of our playbook gets thrown out due to the freshman receivers having to step in? Would we have to go back to a scaled down passing playbook? I realize we would still have Quan Cosby and Nate Jones, but can the freshman jump in and take a considerable load at the 3, 4 and 5 spots? Thanks.

A: At this point I don't expect the offense to change. Even with Shipley and Pittman out for possibly as long as another month, the staff feels like they've got the parts to operate exactly as they had planed coming into the season. That all changes if Sweed misses any action whatsoever because he's the one true difference maker at the position. Look for the staff to mix the freshmen in this week and they'll likely try to keep it somewhat simple for them. Just as John Chiles will have a package of plays that he feels good with, the freshmen receivers will likely have the same and it will expand each week. I would anticipate by the end of this month, the true freshmen will finally be able to join the action with their feet already running and it will lead to an even deeper and dynamic receiver unit when the older guys return.

Q: (lsampson) - How much PT do you think Chiles will get this week? And is there a backup for him, if needed?

A: I suppose it's going to come down to the texture and feel of the game for the staff. If the Longhorns are up big at halftime, you might see Chiles enter the game in the middle of the third quarter. If he's not in by the start of the fourth, then the Longhorns will have other issues than the back-up quarterback position. If there was a need for an emergency quarterback this week, look for Cosby to possibly have the offense turned over to him on a short-term basis. Before Pittman hurt his shoulder, there was talk that he would serve as the emergency quarterback.

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