Texas held its 13th practice of the spring on Tuesday, and the media was granted access to around 20 minutes of drills. Here are three observations:
1. Tuesday’s media window featured some contact. On one portion of the field, the offensive and defensive linemen got physical. That gave onlookers a chance to see match-ups like defensive end Charles Omenihu going against right tackle Derek Kerstetter.
The linebackers also scored a decisive victory against UT’s running backs and tight ends. The linebackers scored more wins than losses in a one-on-one drill that featured the offensive players attempting to keep the linebackers from reaching a tackling dummy.
Later, the running backs and tight ends fared better against Texas’ safeties. Throughout the drills, veteran tight end Andrew Beck found the most success against his defensive peers. The rising senior drove classmate John Bonney to the ground in his final attempt.
2. Texas fans should expect to see Zach Shackelford as the first-string center on Saturday night. Shackelford, after all, has started 17 times since he arrived from Belton in 2016. Not surprisingly, he was featured as a starter in front of the media at Tuesday’s practice.
Shackelford, however, has also been sidelined by a series of injuries during his time at Texas. Terrell Cuney started five times in Shackelford’s place last season but he won’t return as a redshirt senior. Cuney told the American-Stateman last month that he’s set to graduate this May with a degree in physical culture and sports and “I didn’t sign up to come here to play five years.”
If Shackelford goes down, Elijah Rodriguez and Kerstetter have been mentioned as possible back-ups. Since Rodriguez and Kerstetter have other duties with UT’s projected line, though, Austin Allsup has gotten second-string reps this spring.
As for Shackelford, he told reporters last week that “consistency” is what he wants to work on. Shackelford joins rising senior Patrick Vahe (31) and Kerstetter (10) as offensive lineman with double-digit starts at Texas. Calvin Anderson is set to join the program as a graduate transfer after starting 36 times at Rice.
3. UT professors were grading the Longhorns on Tuesday, but the players weren’t being tested in the classroom. Texas annually opens a practice to the university’s professors, so a handful of educators were able to watch Tuesday’s drills.
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