Austin, Texas Players have yet to start popping pads in Texas’ fall football camp, where practices began last week.
But one newcomer, freshman tailback Malcolm Brown, already has captured the attention of veteran teammates.
Brown, a five-star signee from Cibolo, Texas, arrived with a reputation for being a tough runner between the tackles because of his size (6-foot, 215 pounds) and production in high school over three seasons (6,663 career rushing yards, 86 TDs, 9.8 per carry).
But safety Blake Gideon said he saw more than that during voluntary summer workouts.
“He’s talented in the open field more than I thought he’d be,” Gideon said. “He does have some ability to move his feet and swivel his hips. Even if he doesn’t start, he’s going to press guys (for playing time).”
One player who could surrender playing time is tailback Fozzy Whittaker, a senior who said he embraces his role of mentoring Brown and other young running backs.
“It’s my job to help make him the best football player he can be,” Whittaker said. “It’s always a learning curve. But he’s a very versatile back. He weighs a pretty good amount, and he still has quick feet and great hands.”
Yet Brown’s most endearing asset to older players is his attitude.
“Malcolm’s said maybe five words to anybody since he’s been on campus,” Gideon said. “He just goes to work. He keeps his head down. He doesn’t say more than he’s supposed to, which some freshmen have a tendency to do when they come in. I’m excited to play with him. I think he can help us.”
Kansas will take on Texas this season on Oct. 29 in Austin, Texas. In the last meeting, UT beat KU, 51-20, on Nov. 21, 2009, in Austin.
Focusing on freshmen
Texas coach Mack Brown said the team’s early practices will be geared toward determining which incoming freshmen can contribute immediately.
After three days, Brown said coaches will “start making decisions on who moves up to that first position and who does what.”
But no official depth chart will be released until the Monday before the team’s Sept. 3 opener against Rice in Austin.
No quick QB decision
Mack Brown said the four candidates competing to start at quarterback will begin separating themselves “in a couple of weeks, probably.”
Coaches will have Garrett Gilbert, Case McCoy, Connor Wood and David Ash take part in competitive drills on a daily basis.
Brown said “every pass” will be charted to gauge accuracy, and each workout will have “a lot more” emphasis on third-down and red-zone situations than normal to help separate players.