Strong, Haines relay frustrations concerning their defensive woes

Tyler Horka

Charlie Strong sported a burnt orange pullover as he walked into the media room of Bellmont Hall on Monday morning. He left his mock turtleneck and collared shirt in the closet, joking that he “had to change it up little a bit” this week.

Texas’ defensive performance was no laughing matter against Oklahoma, giving up 672 yards and 45 points. Here’s what Strong had to say leading up to this week’s game:

Strong expects steady fan support

Surrendering the fifth most yards in any game in school history against Oklahoma left Longhorn nation calling for Strong’s termination. But Strong is still on the 40 Acres, and he said he wants to see a lot of burnt orange against Iowa State this Saturday in Austin.

“[We’re] just looking for our crowd and getting our fans [to] just come on out and support this football team,” Strong said. “We dropped some tough ones, but we still need the support. And we know that we have an unbelievable group of fans here, and I know this: They’re going to show up and show how much they care about this team.”

Strong said if he was a Texas fan, he’d be in attendance this week at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium even though the Longhorns have lost three straight games.

“You can’t be a fair-weather fan,” Strong said. “You’re either in it [or you’re not]. We’re going to be in it. We’re not going to give up hope.”

Flipped script in second half

Texas totaled 16 points combined in the second halves of its first two losses against California and Oklahoma State. The defense gave up 27 points in those two second halves compared to the 72 points it gave up in those two first halves.

The Longhorns’ offense exploded for 27 points in the second half against Oklahoma, but the defense let up a staggering 31 points to the Sooners after halftime. For three straight weeks, the two units have not played consistently with each other.

“You look at the first half the other day [against Oklahoma], we played pretty well on defense,” Strong said. “And then [in the] second half we played pretty well on offense. It’s just been like one half, it’s one group and the next half it’s the next phase. We just have to put it all together.”

Senior safety Dylan Haines had two interceptions in the first quarter of Saturday’s game, but he said it was frustrating how things fell apart in the second half.

“In the previous games, we had kind of gone out there and gotten off to a bad start,” Haines said. “But looked like we were having a good start, it looked like we had some momentum. But [in] the second half, [we] didn’t go out and execute, didn’t play well.”