Pondering the next Texas defense

Todd Orlando (Will Gallagher/IT)
Todd Orlando (Will Gallagher/IT)

Did you ever have to make up your mind? Say as to one and let the other one slide. There’s that to deal with.

Thinking back on Texas DC Todd Orlando’s defense last year I don’t get far before realizing the effect Poona Ford had on coach’s game-planning and probably more important the particular play calls he could depend upon from week to week. Orlando definitely had to have the four man DL ready in case of a missing Poona dominance each week.

It’s just much easier to find sacred ground for the remaining front people when you have a nose that not only commands a double but consistently defeats said double with a Poona motor. It definitely allowed a run and shoot pair of inside backers that took solid advantage of beating the supposed combo block that never really materialized with the Poona in the game.

When looking back one has to wonder how Orlando got away with a 3-2 so often against decent running attack offenses. It doesn’t exactly take a Phi Beta Kappa to see the main ingredient is a hell raising nose that allows coach to wheel and deal with stunts from every county in Texas. The ass-kicker is gone. We might need a new menu unless we find a proven nose before next September.

We may need more than a dos ponder to find the same success attached to this past season’s defense. We may have trouble finding a single nose that can consistently command a double team much less defeat the damn thing. I’m wondering if we even have a nose that can effectively defeat a single block the longer any drive thrives. Will we be able to get the same mileage out of the remaining front positions without the furniture stacker at nose?

I’m totally sold on our personnel at the 4’s as long as we can win the LOS at the nose. I feel very comfortable with their ability to stunt, pursue, and pressure with the main three returners (Omenihu, Hager, Roach). We may be inexperienced behind those three but it appears those young’uns will jack your jaw when opportunity presents itself.

Coach Orlando found a peaceful mind with two quick triggers that could flat out run as his inside backers during his first year here. It did take him too damn long for most of us impatient fans but he wanted to extend a fair opportunity to the returning starter. I still believe that move turned our season around on defense. We became a strong force from mid season forward.

Gary Johnson was the major addition to the lineup and he is back and will be the most important cog in this year’s machine. We don’t have another proven quick twitch with speed backer that enjoys contact on campus right now. It’s very questionable that we have recruited any similar traits this class.

Gary Johnson (Will Gallgher/IT)
Gary Johnson (Will Gallgher/IT)

Quick triggers can certainly be developed with stout instruction. Contact players with size that can run are a horse of a different color—that’s heredity. We may be one and done with the two greyhounds look (MJ–GJ) as our main focus at inside backer. I know Eric has often told us there just aren’t any such animals in state this year so I definitely defer to him on that subject.

There is no doubt those two speed thieves thrived with the Poona causing warts and blisters in front of them. This recruiting cycle saw us slow play one possible suspect with those two traits. We signed one plugger. We are now courting another plugger type with possible room to grow into the position. No darters in sight.

We seem to be leaning toward bigger at nose and it might hold true at backer. It may be forced or it might be a preferred personnel decision. It does appear that the quick trigger, ricochet, and chase the hell out of the ball backer set-up will fade away with the loss of GJ after next season. We have already lost the Poona touch at nose and might be forced to play kiddos in the rotation.

We may have completely new roles for the same cast of characters in the back end next fall. Kris Boyd and Davante Davis will be the constant at corners. We have to find a Jason Hall. We have suspects. Everybody else probably will have a new role, even the returning starters. We may play six DB’s quite a bit. That’s okay—we have some pretty good football players ready to compete. The good news is we have six more dandies arriving soon.

I look forward to viewing Orlando’s next defense. I will be surprised if it closely resembles this years product in style. We were salty this past year but the Poona and 1/2 the greyhound backer set are gone to the show now and we are left with a different type of personnel to run last years schemes. Maybe it will measure up and continue to be dominant without numbers.

It should be fun to watch coach Orlando work his magic. It just may not look the same. Regardless, I hope this group produces the same intensity and desire as his first group. It just may look different.