Freshman linebacker Ayodele Adeoye listens to defensive coordinator Todd Orlando during a spring practice at the Denius Fields on March 22, 2018. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

BEVO BEAT Football

Three observations from Texas’ fourth practice of fall camp

Posted August 7th, 2018

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Texas linebacker Gary Johnson wants to blow somebody up this season. Figuratively, of course.

“That’s what I like to do,” the senior said. “I like to hit people. I don’t go out to hurt anybody. But I’ll go out and hit anybody.”

To tackle with consistency, it takes practice. Defensive coordinator Todd Orlando put the linebackers through 10 minutes of tackling drills on Tuesday with specific emphasis on basic fundamentals.

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“OK, let’s learn from this,” Orlando said after one Longhorn struggled to wrap up the ball carrier.

Tackling — hard-nosed, legal, physical tackling — is a hard discussion these days in a sport with heightened awareness about concussions. The Longhorns didn’t have many problems in that area last season. UT had the Big 12’s second-best run defense (106.9 yards per game) after finishing fifth in 2016. 

Johnson, Malcolm Roach, Anthony Wheeler and others took turns getting their heads on the correct side of the ball carrier. Then, the Horns worked on having a second linebacker come and strip the ball away. All linebackers, same as the offensive and defensive linemen, are wearing extra padding on their helmets this season in practice to help prevent concussions due to repetitive blows. 

When told the period was over and it was time to move on to another drill, Orlando barked, “We’re done when it’s done.”

Offensive, defense battles: Tuesday was the final day for the players to wear just helmets and shoulder pads. Wednesday will be the team’s first workout in full pads. Still, the offensive and defensive linemen got a glimpse of what’s ahead during their inside drill. 

Probably the highlight of the drill was freshman tackle Keondre Coburn’s back-to-back victories over sophomore lineman Patrick Hudson. Coburn just buried him on the first play. Then, Coburn got under Hudson’s pads and simply drove him back off the line of scrimmage.

Also, it’s notable that graduate transfer Calvin Anderson was with the second-team offensive line during the early portion of offensive team drills. Offensive line coach Herb Hand is trying to get Anderson up to speed as fast as possible. The 6-foot-5, 300-pound Anderson did not go through spring drills. Last Friday was his first workout at Texas.

Mack is back: A familiar face walked into the Whitaker Sports Complex when practice began: former Texas coach Mack Brown.

Brown spoke to the entire team on Monday night, and coach Tom Herman posted photos on Twitter of Brown’s new office inside the football building.

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com.

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