4. College Football News Preview 2020: Texas Longhorns Defense 3 Things To Know
– The defense STILL isn’t fixed. For all of the complaints and screams about how the D couldn’t tackle under Charlie Strong, it’s not like things have been a whole lot better under Tom Herman.
Enter Chris Ash, the former Rutgers head coach who in a previous life was a whale of a defensive coordinator for Wisconsin and Ohio State. Now he takes over a defense that was 97th in the nation, allowing 437 yards per game and got ripped apart by most decent passing games.
How bad have things been for the Texas defense? It allowed 4,753 yards in 2017 – Herman’s first year. It gave up 5,499 in 2018, and 5,609 last year. Worse yet, it allowed 5.19 yards per play in 2017, and 6.11 last season.
– Injuries were a thing – but that’s been part of the equation for several years – and poor tackling has been a problem. The biggest issue? The Big 12 went Big 12, even in a bit of a down year, and LSU was on the schedule. However, giving up 569 yards to Kansas was very much not okay.
It all starts in a secondary that loses safety Brandon Jones but returns a whole lot of guys who had a whole lot of stars next to their recruiting profiles. Caden Sterns is a terrific baller who gets in on just about everything – he misses four games and still finished third on the team in tackles – but it’s up to the corners to start coming up with more picks and more stops. More on that in the Key Player To The Season section.
– The pass rush was fine, but it could do a whole lot more. Gone is Malcolm Roach from one of the ends, but Keondre Coburn is a massive tackle to work around, and Ta’Quon Graham is an NFL-sized interior pass rusher. More flash from the outside would be nice – Graham was second on the team with just 3.5 sacks.
LB Joseph Ossai led the way with a mere five sacks, but he more than did his part. He bulked up, and it would be a huge plus if he turned into even more of a game-changer. Juwan Mitchell is back at his spot in the middle, and then Ash will play around with the rest of the rotation, starting with 6-4, 215-pound junior DeMarvion Overshown on the outside.