3 Texas football players feeling the most pressure in fall camp

Alfred Collins, Texas Football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
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Quinn Ewers, Texas Football
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We are now more than a few days into fall practice for head coach Steve Sarkisian and the Texas football program. As of Aug. 8, Texas has wrapped up almost one-third of the fall practices that will take place before the regular season opener on Sep. 3 at home against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks.

Sark and the Longhorns are set to get the full pads on for practice on Aug. 9. That will take place a few days before the first fall scrimmage of the preseason, which will happen on Aug. 13.

We’re starting to get some trends and notable nuggets out of fall practice in the last couple of days. And despite Sark and the Longhorns staff not having some of the critical position battles seemingly close to figured out, there are some notable developments if you look close enough.

Texas football players that are under some real pressure in fall camp

One of the notable developments early in fall camp includes some players that might not be moving up the depth chart or making an impression, quite as fast as some thought heading into practice. With that in mind, here’s a look at three of the Longhorns players facing the most pressure in fall camp.

David Gbenda, LB

The linebacker position certainly seems like one of the most improved groups of any on either side of the ball for the Longhorns at this point of the offseason. Linebacker was definitely a position of weakness for the Longhorns last season.

That narrative is shifting largely to the rise of super senior linebacker DeMarvion Overshown and junior Jaylan Ford. It also doesn’t hurt that Texas added depth out of the NCAA Transfer Portal in the form of the former FCS All-American and James Madison Dukes senior Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey.

But one of the major question marks that remains at the linebacker position this fall for the Longhorns is junior David Gbenda. As one of the most physically-gifted linebackers for the Longhorns this year, the ceiling is pretty high for Gbenda.

Gbenda is a little bit undersized at 5-foot-11. But his quickness, overall explosiveness, and strength at the point of attack make Gbenda a special linebacker physically.

The problem that Gbenda has continually faced during his three seasons at Texas thus far was his inability to diagnose plays and find the ball at times. Gbenda’s tackling grade has consistently gotten worse in each of the last three seasons. He’s missed 10 tackles in the last two seasons while coming up with just over 40 combined tackles. That missed tackle rate just a little shy of 25 percent can’t happen for an off-ball linebacker in the role that Gbenda would be asked to play.

And it sounds like Gbenda still has yet to make some of the strides necessary to prove he’s ready to challenge for starting reps this fall. Finding the ball and diagnosing plays at the line of scrimmage are some of the necessary traits that Gbenda needs to be an effective middle linebacker. He needs to prove he can make those progressions this fall before some younger guys start to bury him on the depth chart.