Texas Football: Week 2 Fall Camp Stock Report

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Texas Football: Week 2 Fall Camp Stock Report
USA TODAY Sports

Charlie Strong seemed disappointed during the second week of the Texas Longhorns' fall camp, and from the sound of it, he had every right to feel that way.

"During preseason camp, there are going to be days where you hit a wall, and you're just going to have to push through it. Just mentally, you have to have some toughness to you. Today we hit that wall and we weren't able to push through it," Strong said following practice. "When there are bad days, there are bad days from the coaching staff. We, ourselves, did not do a good job of pushing the guys and getting them prepared."

Strong's disappointment from practice was evident during his press conference. He was to the point and very clear that this team is not good enough to not be pushing it every practice.

"We're not a good enough football team to waste days. We only have so many opportunities, and we have to take full advantage of the opportunities," Strong said. "The first week was good because everybody was fresh and new. But here comes the second week and the battles begin. The mental battle, the physical battle, they're still trying to finish up school. But it's all about them, and putting in a good day's work."

With the poor practice behind them, the Longhorns are wrapping up Week 2 of fall camp. Unfortunately for Texas fans, Week 2 had some bad news on the injury front.

 

Injured Longhorns

Quarterback Miles Onyegbule suffered a torn ACL injury and will miss the 2014 season. Tight end Greg Daniels will get a knee scope and will miss the first game of the season, but Strong said he is hopeful of getting Daniels back at some point.

Tight end has been a somewhat non-existent position for the Longhorns for many years. But Strong has made it clear that will not be the case moving forward.

"The tight end position is a very critical position in our team and within our offense because there are different sets and different formations that we use," Strong said. "A tight end is a very valuable player. We're just going to have to sit down and see what candidates we have to move there."

Without Daniels, the Longhorns still have M.J. McFarland, Geoff Swaim and Blake Whiteley as tight end options.

McFarland is the most experienced of the group, and has played in a career-total 23 games, with four starts, and he registered eight receptions for 125 yards and one touchdown in 2012. He did not catch any passes in 2013 and was mainly involved in special teams because Swaim took over a lot of the starting role.

Swaim played in all 13 games in 2013, with nine starts, and caught three passes for 14 yards. Whiteley, meanwhile, was the first signee of the Strong era. He transferred from Arizona Western Community College, where he caught eight passes for 67 yards and two touchdowns.

Wide receiver Jaxon Shipley is still not practicing after he suffered a hamstring injury during the first fall practice of the season. There is no timetable set for his return, but the Longhorns desperately need him back in the mix to lead the receiving core.

Wide receivers coach Les Koenning has options if Shipley cannot return in time for the season opener. Junior Marcus Johnson, sophomore Jacorey Warrick, junior Daje Johnson and senior John Harris have been mentioned as valuable options for the Longhorns. And Texas has five true freshmen with the opportunity to get playing time early in the season.

And true freshman running back Donald Catalon is also dealing with a hamstring injury. Strong did not clarify when Catalon would return to the team; he just said he would be back "at some point."

Catalon was a Rivals.com 4-star prospect and has the talent to turn heads at the college position, but at this point, he is somewhat buried in the depth chart behind senior Malcolm Brown and junior Johnathan Gray.

 

Position Moves

Not a lot of news has been made public on any position moves or depth chart moves, but an area that seems to be settled is with the kicker and punter. Strong said Tuesday that junior Nick Rose is the kicker for the Longhorns and senior William Russ will be the punter.

Rose has played in 26 career games and was the No. 1 guy who handled kickoffs in 2012 and 2013. Russ has not seen much game-time action as a punter.

Strong made it seem like the defense is shaping out well following the second week of fall camp, but there are still a few position battles that remain open on defense.

Michael Thomas/Associated Press
"Defensively, we have three or four returning starters on the defensive front. Shiro (Davis) and (Caleb) Bluiett are still battling at the one end position. At linebacker, you have (Peter) Jinkens and (Steve) Edmond who are solidifying the linebacker position with (Jordan) Hicks. Then you look at the secondary, you have (Quandre) Diggs, (Mykkele) Thompson and Duke (Thomas). Then you have Dylan Haines running with the safety position."

Strong is a defensive-minded coach and has often been regarded as one of the best defensive minds in college football. He has a long track record of building stout defenses, most recently at Louisville, where he helped lead the Cardinals to the No. 1 defense nationally in 2013.

The offense may be another story. 

The running back and quarterback positions are settled, but the remaining offensive positions are still up in the air.

The Texas offense will be a storyline to follow this season, but one of the bigger positions will be the offensive line. The offensive line is looking to replace four veteran starters with a lot of young, inexperienced players. 

Offensive line coach Joe Wickline is moving and shaking up the offensive line, which is something he is known for doing. But he has a limited amount of time to find the right mix to protect the quarterback this season.

"There's going to be a lot of shuffling in camp, especially if you're trying to develop a new offense and trying to put in new schemes, new techniques and fundamentals, and you're trying to figure out what you have on hand," Wickline said. "We're going to move guys pretty often until we find the right combination."

Michael Thomas/Associated Press
Another position to watch will be the wide receivers. Koenning knows he has two starters in Marcus Johnson and Shipley, but with Shipley sidelined, he is looking at some of the young players to step up their game.

"We have got to get the number of reps for those kids so they can be successful," Koenning said of the young receivers. "It's not really a first- or second-team thing. We know Marcus is first. We know Shipley's first. We know that. But we're going to move those kids around so they can get an ample amount of reps, so they can be successful."

Koenning has also mentioned some of the young players by name who may have the opportunity to get on the field early this season.

"Lorenzo Joe, Dorian Leonard, Garrett Gray, Roderick Bernard and Armanti Foreman are all of those guys who are doing really good. All of them have done a really good job," Koenning said of the young wide receivers. "Right now we are going through the learning phase with them. Some of them are picking it up a little faster than others, but it's going really good."

 

Strong Takes the Stage for Annual Texas Football Kickoff Luncheon

When Strong was coaching at Louisville, he was the second priority of coaches. Louisville's basketball program has been the leader of the sports department, and football was second to it.

But that is nowhere near the case at Texas. Since taking over the Longhorns, Strong has had to get used to the amount of visibility that comes with the position. He told Hannah Storm how he was blown away by the number of media who attended his introductory press conference.

"I walked in the door and I was like, 'Oh my God. Where did all of these people come from?'" Strong told Storm. "I was walking with my oldest daughter Hayley, and she said, 'Oh my God, Dad.' And I just said, 'Keep walking. Everything will be fine.'"

Although transitioning into the public spotlight has not been an overnight deal for Strong, he has become exponentially better when dealing with the media. And that was clear at the annual Texas Football Kickoff Luncheon.

Strong discussed a multitude of topics at the luncheon, but none more important than his vision of Texas football's future.

The fans seemed excited about the speech. Some went to Twitter to discuss their feelings, while others used their applause as a way to support the first-year head coach.

Strong has yet to coach a football game for the Longhorns, but if his coaching ability is even a little similar to his ability to learn the public aspect of the job on the run, then the future could be bright for the Longhorns.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.

Taylor Gaspar is Bleacher Report's featured columnist covering the Texas Longhorns. Follow her on Twitter: @Taylor_Gaspar.

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