AUSTIN, Texas -- Forget about the Texas quarterbacks for just a second.
OK, so it is nearly impossible. But just try. Because for all those sky-is-falling fans out there -- you know who you are and there are more of you than you might think -- the thing that needs to worry you, wait, check that, send you into a panic, wait, cause cold sweats at 3 a.m., is the kicking game.
That’s right, it’s no longer about arms at Texas. It’s all about the legs. Or the lack thereof. The latter was clearly evident in the second spring practice open to the public. Ben Pruitt missed a 32 and a 37-yarder. William Russ missed a 32-yarder as well.
"That’s not my area,’’ said a relieved Bryan Harsin when asked about the kickers.
"That’s not my area,’’ the co-offensive coordinator said a second time.
Whether that second utterance was to drive the point home or just Harsin relishing for one second that he was not at the crux of the biggest flaw in the Longhorns is unclear.
What is clear is that Nick Jordan, the high school all-American from Coppell, is still in high school but will be welcomed with open arms when he does arrive in June. Until that time Texas will have to continue to work with Pruitt and Russ.
Here are a few other observations from the open practice:
• For the second straight day there were no interceptions thrown. Case McCoy did come close with a pass. Linebacker Aaron Benson broke on the ball, got his hands on it as well but couldn’t pull it in.
• Kenny Vaccaro forced a fumble on the first play of 11 on 11. It was the first and only ball stripped by the defense in the past two practices. A ball did hit the turf Friday but it was well after the whistle had been blown.
• David Ash continued to get the majority of the snaps with the first team. Harsin insists he has not anointed Ash as the starter and that Case McCoy will have an equal opportunity to become the starter. But Ash is clearly the more confident quarterback and has been called on to throw more pass plays in full team scrimmage situations.
• Freshman Connor Brewer has a huge learning curve ahead of him. Brewer is only getting limited snaps. He has not been able to, nor was he expected to, grasp the offense right now. But Harsin does like his progress.
"I like the way he throws,’’ Harsin said. "The way he moves and he has got a good feel. For example on a couple of plays in practice we got some blitz and he doesn’t really quite know everything conceptually what is going on but he knows where the open guys is and boom the ball is out of his hands in a hurry and completing passes. He’s just playing football right now and you can see that he has knack for playing. So when he understands what we are doing he is going to be all right.’’
• On defense it is clear there is a lack of depth with the back seven players. Right now freshman Alex De La Torre is starting at middle linebacker on the second team and he is struggling with all the information being thrown his way. The safety play is also suspect when Vaccaro and Mykkele Thompson are not on the field. Duke Thomas and Josh Turner show promise at cornerback but both need much more experience.
• Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said he is not at all concerned about Steve Edmond’s weight at the linebacker position. (He’s listed at 255 but almost certainly 10 pounds more than that). Diaz declined to give Edmond’s weight but said the sophomore’s feet and athleticism are at such a high level that he can get away with being a bigger player at that spot.