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Friday, April 12, 2013
Texas spring takeaways: Losers

By Carter Strickland

AUSTIN, Texas -- Maybe the score didn’t matter in the Orange-White scrimmage but don’t be fooled -- everybody was keeping score.

Play was critiqued. Judgments were made. Assumptions, both good and bad, were confirmed. And undoubtedly there were players who fell to both sides of the ledger: Some excelled and some didn’t. Hey, spring football is a wheat-from-the-chaff thing.

Tyrone Swoopes
Freshman quarterback Tyrone Swoopes has already passed Connor Brewer and Jalen Overstreet on the Texas depth chart.
So it is along those lines that the time has come to look at those whose stock rose during the spring and those who’s stock, while maybe didn’t fall, at the least stayed stagnant. And in the spirit of giving good news first, here are three players who are on the rise in the Texas program (here are the winners):

1. Connor Brewer, quarterback: Brewer came into his second spring with the possibility of rising all the way to the No. 2 quarterback spot. Instead he was passed by Tyrone Swoopes and is facing the very real possibility of being a career backup at Texas. Of course, he could always transfer. It’s not that unusual for a quarterback who is fourth on the depth chart with a true freshman ahead of him to do so.

That Brewer faces this dilemma is really not of his own doing. The sophomore was steady during the spring, showed solid knowledge of the offense and has a very good arm -- although the wind up on throws when he is running can be a bit awkward. It’s just that the upside with Swoopes is potentially higher than it is with Brewer. Because of that the coaches are going to dedicate more time to Swoopes. That makes playing catch-up a very difficult task.

2. Steve Edmond, linebacker: Edmond appears to have lost his starting middle linebacker spot and quite possibly a spot with the linebackers. Texas toyed with him at defensive end for a series. Right now it looks as if Texas does not know how it might best use Edmond. He was given every opportunity to prove himself this spring as the middle linebacker after what was not a very good season in 2012. But Dalton Santos emerged as the favored option at that spot. Edmond is immensely talented, which is why the coaching staff is looking at him for another position. But, as of right now, he is a player that could be left behind as Texas’ defense moves forward.

3. Trey Hopkins, offensive line: Hopkins' place on this list is not because of his play. That’s because he didn’t play in the spring due to a leg injury. What Hopkins missed out on was the opportunity to show his versatility on what is an evolving line. Texas will be doing some shifting of players in the fall with Desmond Harrison coming in and taking over the left tackle spot. That means Donald Hawkins goes to left guard. Mason Walters and Josh Cochran anchor the right side of the line. So Hopkins will have to work to get on the field. There was some though that he could take snaps at center this spring but again, due to the injury, that wasn’t possible. He also has played tackle in the past. But it is unlikely he would be able to unseat either of the projected starters at tackle.

In addition, Sedrick Flowers had a very solid spring and was probably the most improved player on the line. He will be angling for playing time at guard. Texas also really likes what it has in incoming freshman Darius James and will try him out at guard as well. Hopkins, despite being a two-year starter, needed the spring to find his place on the line.