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Two storylines concerning Texas’ defense dominated the lead-up to the 2019 season: where would Joseph Ossai play, and who would replace Kris Boyd and Davante Davis at corner?
While Ossai ended up playing a variety of roles, it’s arguable the second question never received a definitive answer. Texas tried five different starting combinations at cornerback last year. Some of the changes came as a result of trying something new, others a result of injury.
There were some great performances, namely the bracketing of Tylan Wallace versus Oklahoma State and D’Shawn Jamison’s two interception game at West Virginia. But on the whole, the unit struggled with some of the basic tenets of playing cornerback.
Chris Ash and Jay Valai now have the responsibility of maximizing the talent assembled by Tom Herman, Todd Orlando, and Jason Washington over the past few recruiting cycles, headlined by a 2018 class that included Jamison and Jalen Green. (Anthony Cook has moved to nickel, or ‘spur’ in Ash’s system).
Green, Jamison, and the other corners will play in a press-quarters system that asks them to win one-on-one matchups against some of the best receivers in the nation. Their success or failure will be instrumental in determining the fortune of not just the Texas defense, but the rest of the program.
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