August 21, 2007

Longhorn notebook: Hall full of Texas pride

Orakpo not feeling any pressure

Despite having to replace two starters at defensive end that are currently making noise as rookies in the NFL, the Texas Longhorns don't seem to have any concerns at all at defensive end.

With juniors Brian Orakpo and Aaron Lewis leading the way and second-year standouts Eddie Jones and Lamaar Houston leading the way for the Longhorns, there's certainly no shortage of depth and talent at the position.

"I think the defensive line can really step up," Orakpo said on Wednesday. "We always step up and if somebody isn't stepping up, then other people will step up.

While Crowder became the first Longhorn since 1999 to record double-digit numbers in sacks, Orakpo believes that this group of defensive ends will make their share of plays and they won't be consumed with individual numbers.

"Me and Aaron are just going to try and do what we can do," Orakpo said. "I'm not saying that we're going to try and break Tim's record or (get) double-digit sacks like he had. We're going to do the best that we can. We have a lot of guys that have the same capabilities that Crowder did."

Upper-classmen in charge

With so many off-field incidents making the headlines in the past off-season for the Longhorns, some of the older players on the roster have formed a leadership group heading into the season.

According to junior defensive end Roy Miller, who was instrumental in approaching the seniors on the team about forming the group, the players felt like it was as much their responsibility as the coaches to police the team.

"There were a lot of problems on the team, little things that that we wanted to (get under control)," Miller said. "I talked with a couple of other guys and we kind of felt like we needed to get together as a group and take care of these problems. It was a lot of guy, it wasn't just me. A lot of the older guys got together and we wanted to take care of our own, and take care of the little problems before the coaches, so things don't get out of hand."

Introducing Chris Hall

It seems like foregone conclusion that redshirt sophomore Chris Hall will be the team's starting left guard when the two-deep roster is released next week and the former Irving High offensive lineman met with the media for the first time on Wednesday.

According to Hall, he knew he needed to pick up his performance on the first day of spring drills.

"When I started looking around this spring and when we started running with the 1's and I started looking around and I was like, 'Wow, (Lyle) Sendlein, (Kasey) Studdard and (Justin) Blalock are gone.' It looks like we're going to have to step up and really play up to our ability like The University of Texas deserves," Hall said."

With a smile on his face that never left stopped beaming during the entire interview, Hall made sure to point out that he has some big footsteps to fill and he's taking it one day at a time.

"Those are some big names. I don't know if anyone can really do that. Hopefully, I can just play hard and be a contributor like the other guys are," Hall said.

When asked to talk about what has stood out thus far in camp, Hall didn't focus on his individual performance.

"The great thing about the camp is that it's been so much fun and I've really just enjoyed being a part of the team, and just playing with the guys and being part of the offensive line, and the University of Texas Longhorns as a whole. I think it has probably helped me personally improve my game," Hall said.

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