Defense beyond repair, any adjustments new defensive coordinator Robinson makes won’t work


Elisabeth Dillon

Jordan Hicks makes a tackle during Texas’ win over Ole Miss last September, the last game Hicks played in 2012.

Chris Hummer

One week is enough time to fix Texas’ defensive aliments, right?

How hard can it be to solve the issues hindering a defense that surrendered 550 rushing yards in one game?

Well, we’ll find out the answer to that question on Saturday when new defensive coordinator Greg Robinson puts his revamped defense on the field to face an explosive Ole Miss attack. But, you’ll hear it here first – ok, who am I kidding, you’ll hear it everywhere – but there is no way the defense is adjusted this quickly.

Sure, the addition of Robinson could serve as a temporary Band-Aid, but he can’t perform the necessary stitching in five practices, that takes time.

Plus, how quickly can the changes be implemented anyway? On Sundayevening the players had just been introduced to Robinson, they had no idea what direction the 64-year-old veteran would take to alter the recent defensive performance.

When senior linebacker Jordan Hicks was asked about what Robinson would do defensively, he was honest: he had “no clue.”

If you’re Texas, the last thing you want to see is your senior leader ignorant to the defensive gameplan five days before one of the biggest contests in recent memory.  

Then again, it wouldn’t be fair to put the lack of knowledge on the players. It’s shared equally by Robinson himself.

When asked about Robinson – who was not made available to the media this week, so he could spend his time planning for Ole Miss – head coach Mack Brown had frank words about his preparation level for the 
Rebels Saturday.

“He’s overloaded right now,” Brown said. “He’s in shorts and ran to the practice field. Stayed up until 1:30 [a.m.] talking to [defensive backs coach] Duane [Akina] about terminology. He hasn’t even gotten to Ole Miss yet.

Actually, Robinson is more than just lacking in his knowledge of the Rebels, considering this quip from Brown.

“[He] asked me how they are today. I said ‘Real good. Real fast.’”

This may have been a bit of exaggeration from Brown, Robinson studies film on the opposing defense, in his own team analysis every week.  However, Robinson’s frantic preparation makes it clear: this defense, once again will be a work in progress.

It’s the same message preached by the team all of last season. They will go back to the basics and work through it one week at a time.

It sounds great and may even work. But how quickly can the basics stop a Rebels offense that averaged over 31 points a game last season in the toughest defensive conference in the country, and one that’s even more potent this season?

That’s the question Robinson must answer in just six days.

But with only six sessions to work with a brand new group, any win Texas manages on Saturday will be because the offense, because the defense will need the assist.