Despite changes in staff, Texas defense still unable to produce

Garrett Callahan

Just one week after Mack Brown demoted defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and brought in the familiar face of Greg Robinson, the Longhorns fell once again to a non-conference opponent. Texas opens up the season 1-2 for the first time since 1998 — Brown’s first year. Here are four things that stood out from Saturday’s game:

Robinson’s new defense

New is used very loosely in that title. While Robinson only had less than a week to improve a defense that was in a state of turmoil, it looked like little had improved on Saturday evening. On Ole Miss’ first two drives, the Longhorns were unable to stop quarterback Bo Wallace and allowed them to get up by two scores. In the second quarter, flashes of a solid Texas defense showed its face, but only lasted minimal time.

Robinson’s defense gave up 449 yards of total offense — over 100 yards more than he gave up on average per game in 2004. Once again the Longhorns were unable to stop the run game, which tallied a total of six touchdowns for the Rebels. Jeff Scott of Ole Miss ran for 164 yards with an average of 8.6 yards per carry.

Missed Opportunities

Texas had many opportunities to get on the board but were unable to capitalize. With 39 seconds left in the first half, Ole Miss took over on its own 28-yard line. The Rebels were able to drive down to Texas’ 35 and set up a 52-yard field goal from Andrew Ritter to give Ole Miss momentum going into halftime.

Also in the second quarter, Texas was able to force an Ole Miss turnover in the red zone and advanced to the goal line, drawing a pass interference. With the ball on the two-yard line, the Longhorns committed two false start penalties that pushed the team back ten yards. Texas had to settle for a field goal, which took away four points the team desperately needed.

Trouble of slow starts not a problem Saturday

In Texas’ first two games, a main concern was the problem of slow starts for the Longhorns. Although Texas did get down by 14 points in the first quarter, they were able to generate offensive production and talks of a slow start were thrown out.

This week, it was the opposite for the Longhorns. After a solid first half in which they came out on top, Texas finished poorly and was unable to carry its production throughout the whole game. Instead, the Longhorns surrendered 27 unanswered points in the second half.

Turnovers not a problem

In the last two games, the Longhorns have only committed one turnover. That came Saturday night when Malcolm Brown knocked the ball out of Case McCoy’s hand, causing a fumble, which was recovered up by Ole Miss. The Longhorns have now been outscored 84-44 in their last two contests despite only turning over the ball once.

This feat says something to the fact that Texas has had extreme difficulty on the defensive side of the ball. Missed tackles along with a severe lack in run defense have become problematic for the Longhorns.