Last night, I was able to re-watch the tape for the battle of Texas, between the Red Raiders and the Longhorns.
Now, I have a better understanding of the defense's performance last night. Overall, the defense played well.
From the beginning, it looked like Muschamp’s gameplan was to mostly rush four and keep everything in front of the defensive backs, while mixing man and zone coverages. The Longhorns were able to force five fumbles (two of which they recovered), three sacks and one interception. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. They forced the Tech offensive line into five false starts and a facemask.
Yet, once again, the only offensive lineman called for holding was wearing a Texas uniform. Strange. Texas did a very good job of defending Tech screens, and that’s good coaching.
It was a tale of two halves for the Texas defense.
After pistol-whipping the Red Raiders in the first half, they gave up 21 points in the second half mainly because they stopped bringing more than four pass rushers.
By my count, Texas brought five or more rushers in the first half 17 times (I’m only counting pass plays). When they combined it with tight man coverage, Taylor Potts played like he looks; he was 9-17 for 70 yards on those plays.
Yet, in the second half, they only brought more than four six times and only once on consecutive plays; and Texas defensive backs would be lined up off the Tech receivers allowing Potts simple reads. The slant is an easy hot read, and you can’t defend it playing seven yards off.
After going up 31-17, it’s almost as if Texas went to a prevent defense. Potts deserves credit for his toughness, but I’m not ready to call him anything more than yet another product of the Tech system at this point.
Tech scored three touchdowns so let’s take a look at each of them.
First TD: Texas rushed seven guys leaving the secondary with man coverage. Chykie Brown guessed horribly wrong and allowed the Tech receiver the inside and an easy touchdown on a slant route. At times, Brown gets lazy in technique, and the receiver is able to make him turn his hips in the wrong direction. He also gave up a reception on a slant on Tech’s first drive, in which he looked equally out of position.
Second TD: Texas rushed five and Potts looked first at a fade route to his left that Chykie Brown had covered. Chykie is usually very good at covering that route. After, Potts hit a receiver on a short crossing pattern on which Earl Thomas had good coverage. It was a perfect pass, despite throwing practically sidearm and off his back foot.
Tip of the cap.
Third TD: Ah, the pick play. Tech ran Curtis Brown and Aaron Williams together. Williams actually switched off, but Brown kept covering his guy leaving Williams’ guy wide open.
There were several defenders that stood out.
Rod Muckelroy might be my defensive player of the game. He was fantastic against the run, had a sack, and even deflected a pass in coverage. He also did a good job of covering underneath crossing routes in zone.
Emmanuel Acho had two tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles. He looks really comfortable in coverage and is good at reading screens. Earl Thomas had eight solos, recovered a fumble and had Texas’ only interception. He continues to make plays.
Aaron Williams had seven solos, two TFL's, forced a fumble and broke up a pass. He is our best defensive back against the run because he makes quick reads and takes great angles.
Sergio Kindle’s stats don’t look at good as the others, but he took over the game in the beginning of the fourth quarter. He was held in the endzone on Thomas’ interception that should have been a safety, and he destroyed Potts on a hit causing a fumble after Texas turned it over.
Tech’s Marlon Winn was also called for a facemask and procedure penalty while lined up against Kindle. But never a holding call, because Winn never had to resort to that against a guy who literally ran through him and around him on separate plays.
This article was written by HenryJames of Barking Carnival.
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