Texas vs. Ole Miss: Defense Struggles, Will It Get Worse Before It Gets Better?

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Texas vs. Ole Miss: Defense Struggles, Will It Get Worse Before It Gets Better?
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Texas' 44-23 loss to Ole Miss Saturday night marked a new low point the Longhorns. For the first time in the Mack Brown era, Texas will enter Big 12 conference play with a losing record.

The Longhorns defense struggled to stop the read-option offense for the second straight week. After the game, linebacker Jordan Hicks said Ole miss was "running the same play over and over again," meaning the defense allowed 449 total yards and 44 points on the "same play."

Texas defensive coordinator Greg Robinson had just three days to coach the Longhorns defense, after Mack Brown relieved former defensive coordinator Manny Diaz of his duties last Sunday. In postgame interviews, Brown said, "I don't think [Robinson] can really be effective in the first three days, which is what he had tonight. But I think we will start seeing more progress next week." That sounds like wishful thinking from Texas' head coach.

The Longhorns' defensive stats may not have been as bad against Ole Miss as they were against BYU, but the defense continues to slip in NCAA statistical categories.

Texas Longhorns Defensive Statistical Rankings
Week Rush Defense 3rd Down Eff Defense Scoring Defense Total Defense
1 T-36 T-28 T-16 T-43
2 121 68 T-54 115
3 121 79 T-88 114


Barring drastic change, there is a good possibility the Longhorns' defensive woes could continue through October. The Texas defense has given up 1,128 offensive yards, 822 of those on the ground and 84 points against read-option offenses in two weeks. Texas' next three opponents—Kansas State, Iowa State and Oklahoma—all run the read option. 

As if preparing to face three straight read-option offenses isn't enough, Texas' next opponent, Kansas State, is Mack Brown's Kryptonite. Brown is 2-7 against the Wildcats, with the last victory happening in 2003. So it has only been a decade since Texas has beaten K-State. Yikes.

Fair or not, all eyes will be on Greg Robinson and the defense when Texas faces Kansas State Saturday night. 

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.

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