Taut tests for tack­les

Nick­el­son and Okafor are vy­ing to be Texas’ starter at right tackle, and new line coach Ware­hime has given ev­ery player a clean slate.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Brian Davis bdavis@states­man.com

So Tom Her­man hates los­ing, huh? Thus, by def­i­ni­tion, he loves com­peti­tors, those un­afraid to push their way to the fore­front. Sounds like Den­zel Okafor. In March 2016 after sign­ing with Texas, Okafor told the Amer­i­can-States­man that he was ea­ger to get on cam­pus and push some­one out of a job. “That’s ex­actly what I want to do,” he said at the time.

“I need to work on hand place­ment, ex­ten­sion and punch­ing more,” Okafor said. “I’ve got to do my part so I don’t come in there on the first day, get hit in the face and think, ‘Dang, what just hap­pened?’ I’m not ner­vous. I’m ea­ger.”

By all ap­pear­ances, Okafor’s op­por­tu­nity has ar­rived. The 310-pound sopho­more will spend the rest of the month bat­tling 315-pound se­nior Tris­tan Nick­el­son for the right tackle spot. It’s the most in­trigu­ing po­si­tion bat­tle on the of­fen­sive line.

Tues­day brought about lit­tle front-line ad­vance­ment, mostly for rea­sons out of their con­trol. The play­ers will be­gin wear­ing

AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN PHO­TOS

Top: Texas se­nior Tris­tan Nick­el­son (left) and sopho­more Den­zel Okafor are bat­tling for the start­ing right tackle spot. Above: Okafor (left) says, “I’m not ner­vous. I’m ea­ger.” Says new Longhorns of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Tim Beck: “It will be in­ter­est­ing to see who those five guys will be out there.”

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