Texas Football: Week 2 Spring Practice Stock Report

Taylor Gaspar@Taylor_GasparFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2014

Dec 29, 2012; San Antonio, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns quarterback David Ash (14) passes the ball against the Oregon State Beavers during the second half of the Alamo Bowl at the Alamodome. Texas beat Oregon State 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Longhorns are into Week 2 of spring practice, and a lot of questions remain unanswered for the football team. Head coach Charlie Strong is taking a day-by-day approach installing the new game plan for the Longhorns, but overall, he said he is pleased with the steady progress his team is making.

"I love the intensity and attitude of the guys," Strong said. "They're really working hard. When you get into spring practice, we are looking at refining their fundamentals and techniques because it's very critical. We are looking for improvement each day from position to position."

Strong and his staff are still a ways away from putting together a depth chart on both sides of the ball. There are a handful of positions that are likely set, but some are not.

Here are four positions still up for grabs after two weeks of practice.


eric gay/Associated Press

The question every Texas fan is asking is who will play quarterback for the Longhorns. The answer is still not available.

Strong has not made any indication that David Ash or Tyrone Swoopes is the No. 1 guy at this point. Based off of his answers about the QB position, it would be surprising if he appoints anyone as the guy before fall camp. 

"(David) Ash and (Tyrone) Swoopes are getting a lot of reps and are running the team," Strong said. "We're not asking them to do a lot because we don't have to go play a game in the next couple of weeks, so it's more about them getting better, getting control of the offense and running the team. That's really what you want to see from the quarterback position."

Quarterback coach Shawn Watson will take his time analyzing Ash and Swoopes' talents. Texas fans should not expect this position to be settled by the end of spring practice.

Offensive Line

AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 1: Dominic Espinosa #55 of the Texas Longhorns lines up against the Wyoming Cowboy defense on September 1, 2012 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Texas had the most experienced offensive line in the country in 2013, but it has since lost four of its veteran starters. Center Dominic Espinosa is the only remaining starter from the 2013 squad, and the positions around him are far from settled.

"We need everyone to have a productive spring," Espinosa said of the offensive line. "We need that depth all across the board because we don't have the experience right now, so we need as many positive reps as possible from all of the guys."

Offensive tackles Kent Perkins and Desmond Harrison are battling injuries, which does not help with adding depth on the line. But their absence has freed up space for other players to display their skills.

There is a lot of work that needs to be done before offensive line coach Joe Wickline finds his starting five guys. The position battle will likely continue through fall camp.

Defensive End

Eric Gay/Associated Press

Texas is looking to replace All-American defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, but the good news for Texas fans is there is a lot of talent ready to step up at defensive end.

The Longhorns have one position settled with defensive end Cedric Reed returning, but who will play opposite him remains unanswered. 

"The other side of the defensive end will be great," Reed said. "I don't know who the guy will be, but Shiro (Davis) has stepped up a lot. Bryce (Cottrell) is our speed guy and has put on some weight. (Caleb) Bluiett played some last year and is good. All of those guys can help out. All we know is our defensive ends have to produce."

Texas has a lot of talent at defensive end. Davis could get the starting nod, but it would not be crazy to expect rotation between Davis, Cottrell and Bluiett.

Defensive Backs

SAN ANTONIO, TX - DECEMBER 29:  Quandre Diggs #6 of the University of Texas Longhorns is unable to intercept a pass intended for Markus Wheaton #2 of the Oregon State Beavers during the Valero Alamo Bowl at the Alamodome on December 29, 2012 in San Antoni
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Texas inherited one of the best defensive minds in the country when it hired Charlie Strong, and he is gradually installing his defensive philosophies into the Longhorns secondary.

Texas lost two veteran defensive backs in corner Carrington Byndom and safety Adrian Phillips. Strong is looking for players who can be multiple and are not afraid to play man coverage in the defensive backfield. 

"You want them to put pressure on the offenses, not be afraid to blitz and go play man coverage," Strong said. "I told our DBs we're going to play some man coverage so you have to be ready to go play it. If you get beat, you have to forget the last down and have to have a short memory back there." 

There is a ton of competition at this position. Even though Texas lost two starters in Byndom and Phillips, the Longhorns have a lot of experience in the secondary. The concern for this position should not be very high due to the amount of experience it returns, but expect to see some younger guys competing with returning starters for playing time.

All quotes were obtained firsthand.

Taylor Gaspar is Bleacher Report's featured columnist covering the Texas Longhorns. You can follow Taylor on Twitter: @Taylor_Gaspar.


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