AUSTIN -- Vance Bedford tried hard not to go on the defensive Wednesday during his weekly press conference and that, of course, has everything to do with Texas’ failure to get defensive for the second straight season.
Texas’ trip to Stillwater on Saturday morning is really the ultimate test of mastery and proficiency within their offensive and defensive identities. The Cowboys are pretty unspectacular in any facet other than their passing game, which is very dangerous but exists in a league where that’s commonplace.
Last week we were all praising the Texas staff for utilizing the “Hager is coming…” 3-4 package to stuff the UTEP offense. This week it seems it’s time to criticize the staff for rolling with another exotic, opponent-specific package that was regularly beaten.
AUSTIN -- Up next for Vance Bedford’s defense is a California team that boasts the nation’s No. 2 passing offense but does little else well. Should we expect more of the 3-3-5 that Bedford unveiled against UTEP? And who gets the start at SS? It’s a misnomer to label the alignment as a three-man front, however.
The UTEP game was pretty darn encouraging for Texas, all things considered. The biggest concerns from watching live were the play of Chris Warren (better than it looked on review) and the breakdown on a few UTEP run plays (also not as bad on review).
Four experienced players were available to the media on Tuesday, although each had experience in different ways. Senior Trent Domingue has a few seasons of Division 1 experience at LSU, but this is his first at Texas. Senior Dylan Haines has been a mainstay in the defensive backfield, and sophomores Patrick Vahe and Connor Williams are coming off freshman All-America seasons. Each detailed their role, expectations and observations to the media.
We'll look at defense; the bread, butter, crust, and sesame seed of Charlie Strong's football existence. Last year the defense was more crouton than anything else; stale and too easily to crumble. This doesn't mean the defensive staff forgot how to bake or construct a winning recipe. As we heard throughout spring and witnessed in the scrimmage itself, Strong and Vance Bedford have elected to alter to a 4-2-5 rather than sticking with the 3-3-5 from the last two seasons.
AUSTIN -- Spring training is typically when a handful of lettermen spring forward. Here’s the short list, on Vance Bedford’s side of the ball, of those who are now standing head-and-shoulder-pads above the rest:
The play of Texas’ linebackers over the last year, especially in Strong’s 3-3-5 packages, is probably the most frustrating and also the most poorly understood aspect of the entire team. The fact that Malik Jefferson had to play as large a role as he did in 2015 as a true freshman spoke to how devastated the position was by the graduation of Jordan Hicks and Steve Edmond.