It's about time for the Longhorn defense to put up or shut up. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has been making excuses for them for the last three weeks. Wyoming is now 0-3, losing to powerhouses Toledo and Cal Poly at home and New Mexico very well could be headed for another 1-11 season.
The second half defensive effort versus Ole Miss was a joke.
Sports Illustrated tabbed Texas in its teams that are set to tumble out of the
unbeaten ranks because of a leaky defense. Kenny Vaccaro cannot play linebacker
or on the defensive front, and there seems to be no leader in that group.
Carrington Byndom and the whole Longhorn secondary are soft
in coverage and Ole Miss had to spot that and when their quarterback was
protected they found open receivers. Oklahoma State got embarrassed by Arizona
59-38 several weeks ago and got their "I think our defense will be
outstanding" bubble bursted accordingly.
Two weeks ago, freshman quarterback Wes Lunt injured his
knee in a 65-point effort versus Louisiana-Lafayette; Lunt's status will be a
game time decision this Saturday in Stillwater. Running back Joseph Randle will
be a threat for Texas to stop regardless whether or Lunt or backup quarterback
J.W. Walsh takes over.
I thought if the Longhorns had stuck with their ground game
a year ago in Austin they could have upset the Cowboys - but that was when Byndom
and Quandre Diggs were playing absolutely knock-down outstanding at cornerback
versus Justin Blackmon.
Offensively, Texas has to have confidence after exploding
versus Ole Miss. Oklahoma State hasn't faced the power running game that the
Longhorns unleashed in Oxford and unless I'm badly mistaken, quarterback David
Ash looked like he had settled in as the Texas
quarterback that had touch on his passes and was a running threat.
If Joe Bergeron is unavailable, Johnathan Gray will have his
opportunity, and he looked good versus Ole Miss at game's end. The jet sweep
with D.J. Monroe, Marquise Goodwin or even Daje Johnson must be accounted for
by defenses or they get burned with speed.
At the present time the collapse of Arkansas, the poor play
by Auburn, the upset of USC for the fourth year in a row by Stanford and the
lackluster performance by the highly-ranked Texas defense are the biggest
disappointments in college football.
I'll be there to hope the Texas D comes to play. Texas can
outscore Oklahoma State 42-35.
Pat Culpepper played for The University from
1960-62 and graduated from UT with a B.A. degree with honors in history. He
coached college football for 12 years as an assistant at Texas, Colorado,
Tulane, Baylor and Memphis State and was head coach at Northern Illinois from
1976-79. He also spent 16 years as a high school coach in Texas at Midland,
Lufkin, Galveston Ball, Westfield and his hometown of Cleburne. He was selected
to the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1991. His commentary appears regularly in the
Inside Texas magazine and at InsideTexas.com.