They say too much youth can be detrimental to a team — especially to a defense. With college football transitioning more and more to a quicker pace, a veteran quarterback can easily pick apart an inexperienced secondary and a learned running back can tear through the gaps of a youthful defensive front. This holds true for most teams, but through two games this season, not for Texas.
Coming into the 2011 season, a huge question mark was placed upon a secondary that lost cornerback Aaron Williams (34th pick, Buffalo Bills) and Chykie Brown (5th round, Ravens). Without missing a beat, sophomore corners Adrian Phillips and Carrington Byndom have held their own, and freshman Quandre Diggs has provided a breath of fresh air. Joined by the hard-hitting Kenny Vaccaro and Blake Gideon, the Texas secondary has broken up 11 passes, picking off two, with one of those interceptions coming from Diggs on a crucial defensive series versus BYU.
Byndom and Phillips have combined to have four tackles for losses. The starting secondary as a whole has registered 25 solo tackles and has proven it’s pretty good in the air as well, ranking 19 in the nation in passing yards allowed (143).
Not to be forgotten, the Texas defensive front has established itself as a force after a shaky first game.
Rice exposed the Texas interior line numerous times with simple inside draw plays. Texas extinguished any worries whatsoever in game two against BYU, holding the Cougars to 43 yards. For the math whizzes out there, that’s 202 percent better than the 130 yards the Longhorns gave up to Rice. Ashton Dorsey returned to the defensive line and registered a 10-yard sack.
The best unit on the defense, the linebackers, have compiled 52 tackles. Emmanuel Acho had a career performance against the Cougars, with 13 tackles and a tackle for a loss. Texas has climbed its way back up to 31st in the country in rushing defense, allowing 86.5 yards a game.
Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz expects that number to keep dropping.
With a multitude of questions surrounding the offensive side of the ball, the Texas defense has proven it can keep the team in games. The Longhorns rank 15th in total defense, allowing 229 yards per game. In the second half of the BYU game, the Cougars had a total of 80 yards, so it looks like the defense gets stronger as the game goes on.
Printed on Friday, September 16, 2011 as: Young defense proving worthy on field.