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There is reason to believe that Texas can right the ship in 2011, and that reason is the defense.
The unit was the lone bright spot in Austin last fall, ranking first in the Big 12 and sixth in the nation in total defense. Obviously, Will Muschamp is no longer "waiting" and he's no longer a Longhorn. But, new coordinator Manny Diaz is very much capable of picking up where Muschamp left off.
The strong suit of the UT D is the linebacking core, which features a pair of All-Conference caliber seniors in Keenan Robinson and Emmanuel Acho. Sophomore Jordan Hicks takes over at the remaining outside linebacker spot, and has the ability to potentially upstage the upper-classmen.
Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor—both 5-star recruits in 2010—book end a strong defensive line. Senior Kheeston Randall is an established cog in the middle.
Corner is a bit of a mystery. Carrington Byndom and Adrian Phillips ended the spring as the favorites to start. Phillips, though, is commonly viewed as Blake Gideon's replacement at free safety.
Sophomore Adrian White is also in the mix, along with freshman Quandre Diggs. Diggs is the most versatile player from the Longhorns incoming class (he played QB, RB, CB, and S at Angleton High School), and will benefit from his early enrollment. Whether he sees the field at corner, safety, or both, he will play early and often.
The safety spot is stacked with talent. Four-year starter Blake Gideon and heavy-hitter Kenny Vaccaro are the unquestioned starters. Senior Christian Scott, along with some combination of Phillips and Diggs provide serious depth.