Christian Scott

Football Notebook

Senior safety Christian Scott injured his wrist in his first game this season. Scott was suspended the first three games of the year. (Daily Texan file photo)

Photo Credit: Caleb Bryant Miller | Daily Texan Staff

Safety out indefinitely

Frustrating season continues for Scott.

Christian Scott’s senior campaign isn’t going the way Texas had hoped.

The safety injured his right wrist against Iowa State and will be out indefinitely, head football athletic trainer Kenny Boyd said.

Scott was suspended for the first three games of the season after being charged with misdemeanor assault this summer. He’ll watch the Oklahoma game from a familiar spot — the sidelines.

Scott saw early action against the Cyclones and registered a quarterback hurry in the first half. But just when it looked like things were finally going his way, his injury occurred.

Without Scott, the Longhorns’ depth in the defensive backfield will be tested against the Sooners’ pass-heavy attack. Last week, junior safety Nolan Brewster was forced to quit football because of concussion symptoms, leaving Texas with a pair of freshmen as backup safeties.

“It puts us back in a situation where we’re very thin in the secondary,” said defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. “We get to freshmen fast. I feel bad for Christian, but it’s a stress to us.”

Mykkele Thompson and Sheroid Evans will back up starters Blake Gideon and Kenny Vaccaro against No. 3 Oklahoma. Gideon, though, expects the youngsters to fill the void right away.

“They’ve come to all the same meetings and been at all practices,” the senior said. “We’re five games into the season. By now they need to be able to have a good understanding of our defense. There’s really no reason why somebody else shouldn’t be able to step up and do their job.”

Sophomore cornerback Adrian Phillips can also fill in at safety.

Cobbs ready to make season debut

Demarco Cobbs couldn’t have timed his return any better.

The sophomore linebacker will play this week for the first time in 2011 after missing the first four games with a broken right forearm. Cobbs provides the Longhorns with some much-needed depth at linebacker with starter Jordan Hicks nursing a sore right hamstring.

Cobbs was the No. 1 recruit in Oklahoma two years ago at Tulsa Central, but turned down the Sooners to play for Texas.

He appeared in all 12 games last season on special teams and as a defensive back. During spring practice, though, Cobbs made the switch to linebacker.

Cobbs should see a good amount of playing time this week against Oklahoma’s high-octane offense. He played quarterback, tailback, wide receiver and safety as a high school athlete and is one of the Longhorns’ most versatile linebackers. That will come in handy against a Sooners team that plays at a blistering pace.

“Demarco brings us great speed and athleticism,” Diaz said. “Demarco is a runner and a hitter, you can never have enough of those on defense. With some of the packages that we like putting together where we can flood the field with speed, Demarco is the guy. Going against spread offenses that are going to throw a lot of screens out on the perimeter, it’s nice to have a guy that can play in space.”

Offense needs to finish drives

The Longhorns got away with a poor second half offensively against Iowa State last week.

On Saturday, Texas can’t afford to waste productive drives against Oklahoma. While Missouri racked up 532 yards against the Sooners on Sept. 24, the Tigers couldn’t capitalize and lost, 38-28.

The Sooners will give up yards, they’re 40th in the country in total defense with 348 yards per game. On the other hand, points have been hard to come by against the OU defense, which allows 15.3 points per game, good for 14th in the nation.

“You have to put points on the board, you can’t leave points out there,” said senior running back Fozzy Whittaker. “That’s one thing we were frustrated by in the second half against Iowa State. We put up yards and we put drives together, but we didn’t put any points up.”

The Longhorns will need to extend drives with third-down conversions this week after converting just four of 15 against the Cyclones. Senior running back Cody Johnson was stopped short on a fourth-and-one play in the red zone against Iowa State, just the type of missed opportunity that could come back to haunt Texas in a game like Saturday’s.

“We need to be better on fourth down and short yardage situations,” Whittaker said.  

Printed on Wednesday, October 5, 2011 as: Scott's frustrating year continues Cobb's return timely for defense

Editor’s note: Missed our double coverage live chat? Here are a few highlights, but make sure to join us next Wednesday at 4 p.m. at bit.ly/dt_chat.

Double Coverage Editor Sameer Bhuchar:
What is happening, Double Coverage readers? It is live chat time. We are really excited to be back after a week hiatus. Once again we are joined by football experts Austin Laymance and Christian Corona, two of the Daily Texan’s finest football beat writers. (They are our only football beat writers, but they’re doing a bang up job don’t you think?)
How are you fellas doing? Ready to kick this off?
Football Writer Austin Laymance:
Feeling good, bye week is over. Nothing like game week.
Football Writer Christian Corona:
Let’s do it.
Sameer Bhuchar:
Great, well lets start with the person Texas needs to clearly watch out for the most. Steele Jantz... George asks...

Question From George:
Is Steele Jantz’s mobility going to be an issue for the front four of the Longhorns?

Austin Laymance:
I think it will be an issue if Texas is not disciplined up front. Jantz will make plays with his feet, the Longhorns just need to limit the explosive plays that go for big yardage and swing momentum.
Christian Corona:
It definitely can. In the first three games, Texas has been able to pressure quarterbacks into bad decisions. But Steele Jantz sometimes hurts you the most when he’s moving outside of the pocket.
Sameer Bhuchar:
Speaking of bad decision making ... Jantz may be the Cyclones’ biggest weapon ... but he is also their biggest liability. He has thrown 6 TDs, but 6 INTS as well this season.

Question From Taylor:
What do you think about Texas’ run defense? Are they ready for Iowa State?

Christian Corona:
They held UCLA’s rushing attack in check so, yes, they can definitely handle Iowa State’s running game. Alexander Robinson torched the Longhorns for 120 yards and 2 TD’s but I don’t see a repeat performance coming this weekend.
Austin Laymance:
The run defense has been spotty at times, and Jantz presents a huge challenge for Texas on the ground. The Longhorns haven’t been able to consistently stop the run this year and I haven’t seen anything to convince me it will be different on Saturday.
Sameer Bhuchar:
But will they be able to stop the pass ... especially with C. Scott back, Jess wonders ... ?

Question From Jess:
What can we expect from Christian Scott in his first game back from suspension?

Christian Corona:
Christian Scott isn’t coming off an injury Saturday (like linebackers Demarco Cobbs and Chet Moss might) so he should be able to get back in the swing of things quickly. He’s been staying in shape and keeping his body ready for his season debut so Scott should be fine.
Austin Laymance:
Scott gives the Longhorns depth in the secondary, Nolan Brewster was forced to give up football this week after dealing with migraines and concussions for several years. Scott won’t start, but he will see a good amount of action in this one. He is far from being in football shape, so expect the coaching staff to ease him back into things. But look for cornerback Adrian Phillips to continue forcing turnovers in the secondary.
Christian Corona:
He’ll still get the chance to ease his way back onto the field with Blake Gideon and Kenny Vaccaro firmly entrenched as the starting safeties.
Scott started 10 games last season, though, and gives Texas some much-needed experience behind the starting safeties with Nolan Brewster leaving the program.

Printed on September 29, 2011 as: Secondary, Cyclones QB spark discussion in chat

Nolan Brewster made 32 tackles in three seasons at Texas but announced he would be giving up football Monday.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

For Texas, No. 7 is not the lucky number it usually is.

Junior safety Nolan Brewster is leaving the football team less than a week after the Longhorns’ other No. 7, junior quarterback Garrett Gilbert had a season-ending shoulder surgery. Migraines and concussion-like symptoms have plagued Brewster since his high school days, and he said it was something that worried him with every hit. After talking things over with his doctors after Texas’ win over UCLA, Brewster decided to end his Longhorns career.

“It was probably the toughest decision I’ve had to make so far in my life. But I think, at the end of the day, it’s the right one,” Brewster said. “Playing football at Texas and for [head] Coach [Mack] Brown was a dream come true. I won’t be playing on the field, but I’ll be out there pulling for my teammates and pitching in wherever I can.”

With Brewster leaving, Christian Scott’s return could not come at a better time. The senior started 10 games and notched 53 tackles a year ago, making a career-high eight stops against Iowa State, the team he’ll be making his season debut against this weekend. Scott, who was suspended for the first three games of this season after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor assault charge, will provide much-needed depth in a secondary that Brewster is leaving.

“Our hearts go out to Nolan,” said defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. “It reminds us all how blessed we are to be a part of something like this. I think everyone really wants what’s best for Nolan. And we know that this may be one chapter of his life closing, but he’s got a bunch of excellent chapters ahead of him in his life.”

Sophomore linebacker Demarco Cobbs, who used to play in the Longhorns secondary, could also see his first action of the year against the Cyclones. Cobbs fractured his forearm a few days before the season began but could take longer than Scott to get in the swing of things. While Cobbs is recovering from an injury, Scott is coming back from a suspension.

Scott, however, is a senior, making Brewster’s exit an even more debilitating blow to the Texas secondary. Blake Gideon is also a senior and while Kenny Vaccaro is a junior, he’s a potential NFL draft prospect who could choose to leave before his senior season.

That leaves Mykkele Thompson and Sheroid Evans, both of whom are currently true freshmen. Copperas Cove’s Orlando Thomas is a class of 2012 commitment and could play safety next year. Vaccaro’s younger brother, Kevin, is also a potential future Longhorns safety, although he hasn’t decided where he’s going to college yet.

“It really affects us for next year,” Brown said. “You lose Blake Gideon, you lose Christian Scott and now you lose Nolan Brewster. And Kenny Vaccaro is a pro prospect. He’s obviously a guy that the NFL will look at as a potential draft choice. So you could possibly lose your first four safeties for next year.”

Brown knew all along that he would be losing at least two safeties with Gideon and Scott being seniors. But Brewster’s departure is a sudden and unfortunate one — one that cut a promising career short.

Printed on September 27, 2011 as: Brewster's career meets abrupt end, Scott returns

After losing its three best cornerbacks, the Texas secondary needs to rebuild somewhat. But a strange offseason trip by Duane Akina landed the accomplished defensive backs coach in Austin after a month-long stint in Arizona, and the Longhorns are now confident they can still field one of the conference’s better pass defenses.

“Coach Akina coming back, that was crazy,” said senior safety Blake Gideon. “He’s a father figure to us, so it helps having the continuity.”

Position leader —Blake Gideon

The senior from Leander is long removed from a star-crossed 2008 freshman season, when his 13 starts were overshadowed by a game-changing dropped interception in a loss at Texas Tech, the Longhorns’ only loss that year. He learned from it and has become one of the top safeties in the country. He was named to the Thorpe Award watch list and a first team preseason All-Big 12 selection.

“That [Tech game] made me grow up quickly,” he said. “Anytime you can go through some adversity and come out clean on the other side, it’s going to make you a better person and player.”

Stock Rising —Kenny Vaccaro

Two years of fantastic special teams play and one season of extended action has Vaccaro looking like the next special playmaker in the secondary. The junior hits like a junkyard dog and can play the pass just as well.

“Kenny is probably the best cover guy we have,” Gideon said.

Most to Prove —Christian Scott

Scott had Texas fans excited in 2008 when, as a redshirt freshman, he saw action in each game. But he missed his sophomore season because of NCAA academic eligibility issues, and turned in a so-so season last year in his first as a starter.

He made 53 tackles and forced two fumbles, but his pass defense was suspect with just one interception and one pass broken up. Entering his senior season, Scott has a chance to live up to the hype he generated three years ago, but he’s going to have to fight for playing time.

Top Backup —Quandre Diggs

It looks like sophomores Carrington Byndom and Adrian Phillips, a former safety, will be the starters at cornerback this season, but that doesn’t mean Diggs won’t make an impact. The younger brother of former Longhorn cornerback Quentin Jammer, Diggs was an early enrollee last winter and made waves in the spring game with a pass breakup to go with the hardest hit of the afternoon. If he’s anything like his brother, watch out.

Position Battle ­—Vaccaro vs. Scott

With Gideon firmly entrenched at free safety, and Byndom and Phillips on the corners barring a change, the starting job at strong safety is the only position truly up for grabs. Scott has experience on his side but isn’t as instinctive or as complete a player as Vaccaro. If what the players had to say at Big 12 Media Days is any indication, it might be Vaccaro’s job to lose.

“Kenny has been the defensive standout of the summer,” said linebacker Emmanuel Acho. “He has looked really good.”

Printed on Monday, August 8, 2011 as: Secondary rebuilding after key losses