Camp tales: Our staff's observations from Texas' third day of football practice

Thomas Jones
Kirk Bohls
Austin American-Statesman
Just like Wednesday's and Thursday's practices of Texas' fall camp, we were given a media window on Friday from the Longhorns' third day of practices.
Our staff observations:
Next man up at running back
The absence of sophomore running back Jonathon Brooks was notable on Friday evening. According to a team spokesperson, Brooks was sidelined with an undisclosed illness.
Brooks is the presumed frontrunner to inherit the starting running back job this season. As a redshirt freshman who sat before future NFL draft picks Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson on last year’s depth chart, Brooks rushed 30 times for 197 yards and five touchdowns.
The next man up? At least in front of the media, it was senior Keilan Robinson, who led the line of running backs.
Chris Del Conte was getting in his laps Friday night.
The Texas athletic director was walking the sidelines over and over at the Longhorns’ first night practice and working up a sweat.
“Just working off some pounds,” CDC said, never slowing down.
Throwing their punches
Takeaways are always an emphasis for any defensive coaching staff, especially after a team ranks second to last in the conference in created turnovers. That’s what happened a year ago, when Texas picked off 10 interceptions but recovered just four fumbles in an 8-5 campaign.
So how does the team create more fumbles? It’s all about punching the ball, as defensive backs coach Terry Joseph emphasized when he had all of the nickel backs wear boxing gloves while going through turnover drills.
Pads ring different level
The first day in shoulder pads comes with a ratcheting up of the intensity, especially when special teams and tight ends coach Jeff Banks gets involved. There’s not a more intense coach on the field than Banks, as evidenced during the tight ends’ blocking drills. If 6-foot-7, 240-pound redshirt freshman Spencer Shannon can keep his pad level low, he showed that he could be a factor in the running game.
Fun in the sun
A third day outside in stifling heat — Austin reached 100 degrees for the 28th day in a row, a new record — led to scattered cramps and the occasional laugh at the lawn. It’s also created some notable tan lines. In particular, redshirt freshman offensive lineman Connor Stroh had all the parents in the crowd resisting the urge to yell out reminders about sunscreen. But at 6-foot-7 and 365 pounds, Stroh may have a hard time finding enough protection to do the trick.
Taffe love
Michael Taffe is taking this player accountability seriously.
The Longhorns defensive back got on his fellow safeties after they dropped several interceptions in a drill Friday and told them they all need to pick it up.

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