Texas Football: Week 3 Spring Practice Stock Report

Taylor Gaspar@Taylor_GasparFeatured ColumnistApril 4, 2014

The Texas Longhorns have reached the midway point of the first spring football session of the Charlie Strong era. 

The Longhorns' first scrimmage of spring did not go the way Strong would have liked. Even though the team started strong, it didn't finish that way, which was not something that pleased the head coach.

"The longer the scrimmage went on some guys just quit competing and that's what we can't have," Strong said. "We're not good enough to go waste practices. That's not who we are and that's not what we're all about."

The Longhorns obviously have a ways to go until the team is ready to play an opponent, but expecting anything different would simply be wishful thinking. Changes are going to be gradual under a new staff with entirely new offensive and defensive schemes.

What Texas fans should expect is gradual progress, and from the sound of it, that progress is taking place.


Quarterback Progress

The good news for Texas fans is things might be coming together for some key players. And the first is the quarterback.

Some people may have been concerned that quarterback David Ash would never take the football field again after suffering recurring concussion symptoms throughout the 2013 season. But according to Strong, Ash has shown steady progress through the first half of spring practice.

"The thing about David is he's studying it and working at it. And each practice he has gotten better."

It is still very early to declare Ash as the go-to guy, but his day-by-day progress is a step in the right direction.


Diggs Stepping Up

One constant the defense has is defensive back Quandre Diggs, who has been an impact player for his three years at Texas. Diggs' decision to return for his senior season was welcomed with open arms by Texas because of the leadership he brings to the secondary.

"He's coming into his own and showing his leadership ability," Strong said. "He can play at corner and we can move him to the nickel. He's a very smart football player. His size is not what you typically like to see at that position but he knows how good he is and plays within himself."

Diggs' personality would appear to mesh well with the new staff. He has never been one to hide his feelings—good or bad—in press settings and enjoys the toughness Strong and his staff bring to the team.

"These guys don't care what you did in the past," Diggs said. "If you are a leader or a veteran, they're going to expect you to show them that on the field. I respect that because I feel like no guys on this team should be able to just settle. Guys should be hungry to show what type of players they are."


Offensive Line

The offensive line took a hit when tackle Kent Perkins went down with a knee injury. Texas released an injury update to the media stating Perkins had successful knee surgery and will miss the remainder of spring practice.

This injury came to an offensive line that is already slim on experience. Aside from Perkins, the Longhorns have three linemen with starting experience. But Perkins' injury isn't all terrible because it has given other players the opportunity to step up and show their skills.

"Losing Perkins hurts us because he was doing so well," Strong said. "But it now gives us a chance to look at the younger guys and watching them compete and making sure they get enough reps."

Strong did not specify which younger guys the staff is watching, so this position will remain one to watch moving into the second half of spring. 


The Red River Showdown

Away from Spring football, the Texas-Oklahoma game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas has once again been renamed and rebranded, this time to the AT&T Red River Showdown. The annual showdown, first called the Red River Shootout, was changed to the Red River Rivalry in 2005 in coordination of the 100th meeting.

Regardless of the name, the annual rivalry is arguably one of the greatest atmospheres in college football. When the Longhorns and the Sooners divide at the 50-yard line, an intense competition is almost certain to follow.


All quotes were obtained firsthand.

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


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