Mistakes on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball were apparent in Texas’ season-opening loss last Saturday. Offensive coordinator Tim Beck and defensive coordinator Todd Orlando know that these mistakes have to be fixed before they face Tulsa this weekend.
On Wednesday, Beck and Orlando discussed the team’s shortcomings so far. Here’s some of the takeaways:
Orlando hoping pressure will make diamonds
Late in the matchup against Maryland, the Texas defense looked similar to the top-ranked unit that fans became accustomed to seeing last season. But a slow start put the entire team in a difficult position, forcing sophomore quarterback Sam Ehlinger and the rest of the offense to play catch up for most of the game.
As a result, Orlando said that one of the primary focuses in practice this week is to have his players ready to go from the first snap.
“I told them, ‘If you can do it in the fourth quarter, why can’t we start the game this way?’” Orlando said. “So, the attention in practice has been like, really fast start. Let’s start doing things right off the get-go, put these guys in the most stressful situations as possible so they can start to react to that so they can settle themselves down and play football.”
Even though Texas was nearly a two touchdown favorite against the Terrapins, the Longhorns found themselves trailing 24-7 through the second quarter.
According to Orlando, the heavy expectations placed upon the team are well noted and the mistakes made on Saturday are unacceptable if the team hopes to reach the lofty goals set upon the program this season.
“There’s no moral victories around here,” Orlando said “You’re at the University of Texas. You’re expected to win. You’re expected to win anywhere, but we’re trying to teach our kids … you have to play football this way to be able to win ball games and when you do some of the stuff that we did, you sit down and say, ‘We can’t do this.’”
Beck sees offensive improvement amid crucial turnovers
Many of the questions surrounding the Longhorns going into this year revolve around how the offense would look in year two under Beck. For the most part, Saturday’s result yielded many of the same flaws.
“We beat ourselves,” Beck said. “I think for a while there, we were clicking. We were like, hey, we’ve got a chance to be good. We came back and took the lead and felt pretty confident that we were going to win the game and then we beat ourselves by turning the ball over. Think about it. I think it was the two-minute drill. We had the ball on the nine and drove all the way to the 30. I don’t know if we could’ve done that last year or not.”
However, Beck’s optimistic side also showed Wednesday as he discussed some of the offensive highlights of the game.
“At times, there was some really good things through the course of the game,” Beck said. “Probably the second drive of the second quarter maybe all the way through the fourth, I thought we played pretty well offensively for the most part. I just think you can’t turn the ball over like that late and expect to win a game on the road.”