Texas Longhorns Insider: Will the Defense Be Special in 2011?

Bryan DietzlerSenior Analyst IJuly 10, 2011

HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 04:  Safety Kenny Vacarro #16 of the Texas Longhorns along with Jackson Jeffcoat #44 and Kheeston Randall #92 jumps on the back of linebacker Keenan Robinson #1 who recovered a fumble and scored against the Rice Owls at Reliant Stadium on September 4, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

You have heard a lot about how the Longhorns' offense could be the cause of several potential problems next season, but we should also remember that they have had a major change on defense coming into the season.  Former defensive coordinator Will Muschamp has since left, (and is now the head coach of the Florida Gators) so there is a new coordinator there for the defense.  And everyone wants to know just how well Manny Diaz’s defense will do next season?

Remember that the Longhorns' defense from a year ago was not that bad and will have several of the same players back from last year’s team.  The word out of spring practices is that the Longhorns defenders were picking up the system well and that the defense could be very good next season.

But just how good will the defense be?  If the offense starts the season off slowly (as is predicted) can the defense do enough to help get the team through a starting slump and have a good start to the season?

The big advantage that this team has is that it has several stars returning on defense. Some of those stars include Kheeston Randall, Keenan Robinson, Alex Okafor, Blake Gideon and Emmanuel Acho.  You could also count linebacker Jordan Hicks and defensive lineman Jackson Jeffcoat as some of the guys that will be counted on to make their defense special next season.  (Incidentally all of these players are listed on the Phil Steele All-Big 12 team for the 2011 season).

If you watched any of the spring game, you will have seen that the Longhorns' defense was a ways ahead of the offense (but this is usually the case) and they made some nice plays.  Even though they were (and still are) implementing new things on defense thanks to the hiring of Diaz, they looked as if they were learning those new things very well.

To win in college football, you have to have balance on both sides of the ball.  There is no one offense that would be able to get a team winning on a regular basis without the help of their defense.  The same can be said for a defense.  A defense cannot win without having an offense that can at least control the ball and keep the defense off the field for extended periods of time.

So with that, the Longhorns' defense is only going to be able to help this team win to a point and with their offensive struggles, the defense is going to have play well in each and every game.  They are capable of doing that because of the talent that they have on the team, but they can’t do it alone.  The offense will have to step it up.

This could be one of the best defenses that the Longhorns have had in a long time, but it could be overshadowed by the problems that they will surely have on offense.  If this team doesn’t win that many games, no one is going to look at their defense as being one of the best in college football.  Winning means almost everything. 

So simply, yes the Longhorns' defense is going to be better, but will they really be able to stand out with that offense being as inefficient as everyone predicts?  That remains to be seen, but this team is poised to have one of the best defenses in college football in 2011.