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While the offense has a lot of obvious work to do this spring in order to traverse the distance from “dreadful” to “capable of pulling their weight for a Big 12 champion,” the defense actually has quite a bit of work to do as well. The main difference is that we already know who the main playmakers are, how they’ll be utilized, and that the coaching staff can be effective at putting it all together.
Amongst the challenges for the coming season include replacing the best player at every position group. DL Poona Ford is gone, LB Malik Jefferson, safeties DeShon Elliott and Jason Hall, and cornerback Holton Hill. We’ve already seen Texas perform at a high level on defense without Jefferson or Hill but they still had “the punter” allowing them to pin opponents inside the 20 virtually every drive and he’s now gone.
In other words, Texas needs to successfully reload at several positions to maintain the high level of play they achieved in 2017. Here are some of the main storylines for this spring in working that out.