Each day, as a countdown to fall camp opening Aug. 5, we are going to provide you with a number that was important in 2011 and let you know why it will be important in 2012.
Bob Stoops believes his defense has lost some pop.
“… The last couple of years, for whatever reason -- and we've really looked at it -- that our defense hasn't been quite as strong as what we've been used to in our first 10, 12 years,” Stoops said.
OK, well then, where does that put Texas, which finished No. 2 behind Oklahoma in the Big 12 in scoring defense? Yep, still trying to gain ground.
Inside the number
Texas was the Big 12’s best overall defense when it comes to yards allowed, but yards don’t really matter all that much. Points do. And Texas hasn’t had the stingiest scoring defense in the Big 12 since 2008.
That could change in 2012. The Longhorns have started to build a defensive line similar to those in the SEC. It possess depth and speed on the edge and players with better upper body strength than they have had in the past.
Where it counts in 2012
Three of the four starters are returners. And the fourth, Brandon Moore, certainly knows what it is like to play in the SEC because he has done it. Moore has done more than just bring skill and strength to the line. The junior college transfer has turned heads with his work ethic as well.
“The best thing I have seen about Brandon is how hard he has worked this summer,” said offensive lineman Mason Walters. “He wants to be good. There is only an upside for him.”
The upside to that is Texas should be able to be tougher against the run -- it already allowed just 3.1 yards per game -- and have a better pass rush. The Longhorns were lacking in putting pressure on quarterbacks in 2011. Baylor’s Robert Griffin III and Oklahoma’s Landry Jones were able to both throw for more than 300 yards and guide their respective teams to 48 and 55 points against Texas.
Now, to be fair, some of those points were surrendered by the offense as well. Others were notched against the defense because the offense gave the ball up in a bad spot.
Neither of those two things should happen as frequently in 2012 because the quarterback, whoever it might be, will be more mature and not so apt to put the ball in perilous situations. Plus Texas should have a ground game that can get it out of trouble when it is buried on the wrong side of the field.