And Buckner doesn’t mind telling people about it.
"He talks a lot,” linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy said. "We hear it in the locker room about whatever is the topic of the day. He can come across the middle if he wants to, but he’d better not against the first-team defense.”
Mack Brown couldn’t stop talking about Buckner’s two "circus catches” in Tuesday’s practice. He caught one ball with his left hand.
"His hands are about as good as anybody we’ve had at that position,” the Texas head coach said.
While lacking at tight end, the Longhorns are compensating by flexing out Buckner as an inside receiver. Tight end coach Bruce Chambers said Buckner reminds him of former Longhorn tight end Jermichael Finley with his athleticism and ability to make yards after the catch.
Finley’s name didn’t ring a bell with Buckner. "I didn’t watch too much back then,” he said.
Know, however, that Buckner does not consider himself a tight end. When San Antonio Express-News reporter Mike Finger asked him Saturday night if he was officially a tight end, Buckner snapped, "Never.”
He’s probably right. He’s too lean and much too flashy to be pigeon-holed as a tight end restricted to blocking. Besides, he describes his own blocking as "average,” calling it one of the weaker parts of his repertoire.
Greg Smith, who plays a tight end in real life, played 26 snaps in the opener but was never targeted as a receiver. As Buckner said, his bravado peaking out, "I caught every pass they threw to me.”
It may be hard to completely bridle his extroverted personality. Kennedy just wants that energy channeled onto the field.
"I don’t know if cocky is the right word,” Kennedy said. "I’d say Dan is very confident in his abilities. I try to convey to all the receivers that if you don’t work and you act cool, we’re going to be just another group. Let’s be cool when we’re really, really good and make some plays.”