Posted August 28th, 2008 by Matt
Filed under: Football

Position Rating: C-
Starters: Earl Thomas, Blake Gideon
Reserves: Christian Scott, Nolan Brewster, Ben Wells

The Texas secondary has come under a lot of scrutiny after allowing a school record 3,306 yards passing (109th in the nation) last year. And if things weren’t already bad enough, junior [tag]Ishie Oduegwu[/tag] is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury forcing the Longhorns to start two freshman at the safety position, redshirt freshman [tag]Earl Thomas[/tag] and true freshman [tag]Blake Gideon[/tag].

So far this training camp, new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp has been impressed with Earl Thomas’ athleticism and explosiveness. When asked to name the most productive safeties of the spring, Will Muschamp said, “Earl Thomas — and then really it’s a toss-up after that.” So for now Blake Gideon has won out, but it looks like redshirt freshmen [tag]Christian Scott[/tag] and [tag]Ben Wells[/tag], along with true freshman [tag]Nolan Brewster[/tag] will be competing for that starting spot. Scott, Wells, and Brewster were all high-school all americans, but competing against the offenses of Oklahoma and Texas Tech is a whole other story.

One of the scariest things about starting such inexperienced players is summed up quite well by head coach Mack Brown. Brown said the terms “strong” and “free” have been dropped from the safety position, instead they have been replaced by the terms “right” and “left” so the players know what area of the field to cover. Brown is obviously trying to make things simple back there, but it sounds scary when the players need that much simplification.

Hopefully Muschamp can work his magic back there. At least so far he seems pretty pleased with the progress they are making. “We’ve got guys who can run vertically and judge the ball downfield, which is key. I think we’ve got guys who can tackle in space. I like our speed. We’ve got the tools. I’d rather be working with this than a bunch of experienced guys who can’t play,” said Muschamp.

Obviously this group has a lot of potential to become quite solid over the next few years, but for now I had to grade them on where they are at now.

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