Spring position preview: Defensive backs


The players like to refer to Texas as DBU (Defensive Back University).

The nickname works only because the defensive backs work as well. Throughout the Mack Brown era at Texas, the Longhorns have been known for putting quality players into the NFL. Following the 2010 season, three players were selected. After the 2012 season, one more will certainly go into the NFL Draft, Kenny Vaccaro, and he could be joined by another, Carrington Byndom.

But for now both are in the fold and should allow Texas to build one of the best secondaries in the Big 12. With their experience and talent, Texas will have the opportunity to give offenses multiple looks and packages. No doubt defensive coordinator Manny Diaz will start working on those packages this spring.

What Texas has …

Carrington Byndom might be the best cover corner in the Big 12. Quandre Diggs is not too far behind him. And Vaccaro is a player who could have gone to the NFL after his junior season. Put those three together and Texas has one of the stronger units, in not only the Big 12, but the country.

Now add Adrian Phillips, who can play both safety and corner, as well as Josh Turner, another versatile defensive back with serious speed, and things look pretty good in the defensive backfield for Texas.

Phillips is going to get the first look at playing the safety spot next to Vaccaro this spring. He is faster but not quite as powerful or big as Blake Gideon.

What Texas needs …

Sherroid Evans and Mykkele Thompson are going to have to prove they are players this spring. Both made it into games as true freshman, but mostly on special teams. These two are exceptional athletes who need to time to grow and understand the safety position. One or both is going to be called upon at various times in the 2012 season to take over for Vaccaro or Gideon.

Texas also has to find out who will play the nickel back packages in 2012. Again, both of these guys, along with Turner, are viable options.