Spring is a time to build depth in order to prepare for future injuries and the unexpected. As the Texas football team learned last season, it needs to be deep in all areas in case something tragic happens at the most inopportune moment (such as losing your starting quarterback in the national championship game).
The way offensive coordinator Greg Davis and defensive coordinator Will Muschamp go about adding depth to each position is through cross-training.
“[Cross-training] is important because it prepares you for the unexpected and gives you a chance to expose guys to different situations, as opposed to putting them in the easiest, most comfortable spots,” Muschamp said Monday after the team’s first post-spring break practice.
Now that the spring season is halfway over, both Davis and Muschamp will be changing things up a bit for last eight days of practice. For example, Davis has moved Kyle Hix, who has always played right offensive tackle, to the left side, and Michael Huey, who has always played right offensive guard, to the left side, as well.
“That’s two veteran guys playing side-by-side,” Davis said.
Davis also has former guard David Snow playing center, a position he is not familiar with quite yet.
Muschamp is doing more of the same on his end of the field.
“We’ve got a bunch of guys cross-training up front,” Muschamp said. “We’ve probably got six or seven guys playing different spots up front. We try to do that to build depth on our football team.”
The battle for backup
Now that Garrett Gilbert has stepped into the starting role, the question now is who will back him up. Will it be Sherrod Harris, Connor Wood or Case McCoy? Davis said that Harris has an edge in terms of knowledge, but none have separated from the pack yet.
“We are letting them all duke it out,” Davis said. “There is one train of thought that you would like to have a fifth-year senior backup, and there is another train that you would rather have a young guy in a back-up position. They are going to settle that on the field, and I feel fairly confident that it will not be decided until August.”
One reason Davis believes there’s no clear choice between Wood and McCoy is the mere fact that they are “lost.”
“They should be going to their prom right now,” he said. “But you’re always lost at some point. It would either be now or in August, and it’s better right now.”
Life without Shipley
Rather than having one go-to receiver like Jordan Shipley for next season, Davis is focusing on using a solid corps that consists of James Kirkendoll, Malcolm Williams, Marquise Goodwin and John Chiles.
Kirkendoll will play on the outside, Williams will be the split end and Chiles or Goodwin will be the slot receiver.
Davis has also been impressed with players like DeSean Hales, Brock Fitzhenry and especially Greg Timmons.
“He’s got some real strong hands,” Davis said of Timmons. “He shows up every day with a play or two. He will be in the mix, but he needs to be more consistent on his routes.”