Strong has Texas playing better on both sides of the ball

Tyler Horka

Despite enduring plenty of criticism throughout all three of his seasons in Austin, Charlie Strong picked up his third win in Texas’ last four games against Texas Tech on Saturday. 

Strong and several players addressed the media Monday morning to discuss the win in Lubbock and preview Texas’ upcoming matchup with No. 11 West Virginia this Saturday. A win would mark the Longhorns’ fifth straight victory over top-12 opponents dating back to last year.

Secondary stepping up
Texas relinquished 367 passing yards to Texas Tech junior quarterback Patrick Mahomes, well over the Longhorns’ average of 270.6 passing yards surrendered per game. 

But Texas held Mahomes well under his season average of 431.8 passing yards per game. The burnt orange secondary has come a long way since giving up 390-plus passing yards in three straight contests earlier in the season. 

“We had to play a lot of [defensive backs] based just on what they were giving us,” Strong said. “We knew they were going to throw the ball around… I knew it was going to be a long game. We were going to have to chase receivers all day long.” 

Texas Tech’s longest reception went for 31 yards. That’s major improvement for a Texas secondary that proved prone to getting beat by the deep ball earlier in the season. Oklahoma junior receiver Dede Westbrook set a school record with 232 receiving yards just four weeks ago. 

Buechele yet to have a ‘freshman moment’
Freshman quarterback Shane Buechele entered his fourth true road game of the season in a hostile environment. Though he completed a season low 50 percent of his passes, he didn’t make any mistakes detrimental to the Longhorns’ chances of escaping with a victory. 

Strong said the offensive line’s blocking up front and junior running back D’Onta Foreman’s knack for keeping opposing defenses on their heels help Buechele feel more comfortable in the pocket. The rest is left to him. 

“He’s good enough where he can throw the ball up over your head,” Strong said. “He throws a great deep ball. But he’s one that’s also really focused and he locks in. Nothing really bothers him, because he knows he has enough around him.” 

Buechele, who’s thrown for 19 touchdowns to just six interceptions this season, also credited his teammates for making the game much easier to manage. 

“It’s just a trust process,” Buechele said. “You have to trust in everybody. And you have to realize everybody wants to get better. Nobody wants to have [a tough] season. We’re just trying to get better
every week.”