Second-ranked Texas released its first depth chart of the preseason this afternoon, making news in the process. Here are the highlights:
1. Just like last year at this time, Vondrell McGee has taken advantage of an unspecified injury to Fozzy Whittaker and claimed the starting tailback spot. McGee is a tough inside runner who gained 376 yards last season.
"Tough as nails," said coach Mack Brown, in describing McGee, whose performance will determine his carries. "If Vondrell is making yards, he's going to get a bunch of them [carries]. If he's not, we're going to change it up. We're going to put someone else in there because I really feel like you change the tempo of something that isn't working."
Whittaker is expected to return to practice Monday but has lost enough reps that he's now battling for the backup tailback spot with Cody Johnson.
2. Brown talked about wanting an ultra-competitive depth chart, with 22 potential starters on both offense and defense. He feels he's close to that goal throughout the defense. The offensive line remain remains a question mark, outside of an experienced first five, led by senior center Chris Hall of Irving. Sophomore David Snow is competing at both guard positions while also backing up Hall.
3. Converted quarterback John Chiles of Mansfield Summit remains in the mix for what might be a six-receiver rotation, Brown said, and has shown the ability to run after the catch. Allen's Dan Buckner has been impressive in the flex position that Texas will sometimes use in place of a tight end.
4. Brown gushed about defensive end/outside linebacker Sergio Kindle of Woodrow Wilson. "Sergio had just been amazing in camp," Brown said. "He's dominated every day. We can't block him. He's a guy who has just disrupted the offense."
5. Seven positions are listed as either/or, as well as the kicking and punting spots. "I know people get frustrated with the depth chart," said Brown, who turned 58 on Thursday. "They want a starter. It's not the old days. You have to have depth."
6. The team motto this season is "We Are Texas," a phrase meant to refocus the players on their situation and block out any lingering thoughts of the Big 12 tiebreaker, the BCS and what might be ahead, Brown said.