- Carter Strickland, Reporter, HornsNation
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AUSTIN, Texas -- Last week Manny Diaz was putting band-aids on paper cuts.
This week the Texas defensive coordinator is trying to avoid a blow from the guillotine.
"They are constantly going to be on the hunt for the big play, whether through deception, through double moves by the wideouts, double pass, a trick, something," Diaz said of the Ole Miss offense.
That is a dramatic change from what New Mexico and its option attack did to Texas.
"They want to try and create death by paper cuts," Diaz said. "They just paper-cut you and paper-cut you and you get so annoyed and so frustrated and then all of thee sudden they strike with the big play."
While it never got to that point, Texas gave up 112 yards in the first three series. Included in that were two third-down conversions of nine or more yards. Consider this a lesson learned without a lot of blood loss because while New Mexico may have started fast, Texas never started falling apart.
"Biggest credit to our guys, and it is not always fun to watch, but you have to stay poised against those teams," Diaz said.
That poise should once again be an attribute as Texas faces a fast-paced, no-huddle Ole Miss offense. The Rebels, while not exactly playing the best competition, have three touchdown passes for more than 50 yards and rank 10th nationally in overall offense with 551 yards per game.
"The whole thing still comes down to poise and discipline," Diaz said. "Now with this offense if they break a run or they throw a pass and they are coming at you with fast tempo, you have to be locked in for the next play.
"You have to be disciplined against every offense. That is just sort of the nature of great defenses. The challenges are different week in and week out, but the basic themes are always the same."
Texas kicker Anthony Fera has been upgraded to questionable from doubtful. The Penn State transfer has not played yet this year because of a leg injury. Texas has used freshman Nick Jordan in his place. Jordan has missed three of five field goals. All three misses were from 40-plus yards.
Fera kicked some last week and will be pressed to do a little bit more this week in practice. If he is able to get through that without getting sore, then Texas might entertain using him against Ole Miss.
The reason Malcolm Brown did not touch the ball much was because the plays were changed at the line of scrimmage, head coach Mack Brown said. In reviewing the game tape, Brown actually was on the field for 22 plays, more than Joe Bergeron and Johnathan Gray. But Mack Brown said he did not get an opportunity to get touches because on the plays where he was the designated carry, quarterback David Ash correctly changed the play to better attack the defense.
Brown finished with four touches and 28 yards.
Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds may be headed into enemy territory this week, but he has already found a friend among the Rebels. Former quarterback Archie Manning called Dodds and invited him to stop by the Manning tailgate Saturday in the Grove. Dodds said he plans to attend.