Before the season began, the Texas Longhorns defense was picked to be one of the best in the country again this season. After all, they returned most of a squad that finished last year in the top 10 in nearly every defensive category–a pretty impressive feat considering they play in the Big 12 conference which boasts the most explosive offenses in college football.
Yet here we are, four games into the Longhorns’ season, and so far the Texas defense has failed to live up to its lofty pre-season expectations.
Despite their 4-0 start to the year, the Horns’ defense has suffered from poor tackling week after week. Even more frustrating for fans has been the D’s propensity given up far too many big plays; teams are currently averaging more than 6 yards per play against them.
Yet for all the poor tackling and the sacrificing of explosive plays, we have seen some glimpses of what this defense really can do.
In four games, they have amassed 7 interceptions, one of which they returned for a touchdown, and 3 forced fumbles.
Additionally, they truly are a bend-but-don’t-break defense. Other teams have visited the Texas red zone a total of 9 times, but only 33% of those trips have resulted in touchdowns. For examples, despite the massive amount of yards given up last weekend to the Oklahoma State Cowboys, it was the trips that the defense held their offense to field goals that ultimately helped to seal the victory for Texas (that and an incredibly efficient Longhorns offense).
Regardless, Texas fans miss the suffocating defense they saw last season and the one that was expected carry them back to the top this year.
So far, that’s what has been missing from this Texas team.
That’s not good news for the Texas Longhorns, especially with Geno Smith and the West Virginia Mountaineers coming to town.
The Mountaineers are, simply stated, an offensive machine. They make it look easy. They are explosive. They spread the field, and they put so many points on the scoreboard that one wonders, as he sees the score afterward, if it was really a basketball score.
Now is the time for the Texas defense to show what they are truly made of. Will they live up to the challenge?