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Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Four downs: Defense in the details

By Sean Adams

AUSTIN, Texas -- Each week Sean Adams looks at a few topics around the Texas Longhorns and college football.

First down: Winning is in the details ...

Texas linebacker Jordan Hicks missed seven games in 2012 due to a hip injury.
There are not huge gaps between the Top 40 college football programs in the country. They all have generally the same opportunity to win. Some coaches and some programs do more and pay attention to the details of football, and that is what separates them from everyone else.

Sitting in the stands, one couldn't help but notice how they kept stopping before the play to make sure everyone was lined up the right way. Duane Akina and Manny Diaz are the easy coaches to see digging into the details and nuances of the game of football, but across the board even to the sometimes-understated Bo Davis, a focus on the details was paramount.

It is safe to say that over the last few years, there were some details missed. Some T's were not crossed and some I’s were not dotted.

As I spent a lot of time looking at the defense during practice, it was clear that they are trying to see the error of their ways and get it fixed.

Second down: Too early to like the LB group?

It is not wise to make emotional picks about sports. It’s probably not wise to make emotional picks about most things in life. Logic and having a decision-making process usually work out for the best long-term decisions.

With that said, I am making a total emotional decision with my thoughts about the Texas linebacker group.

Jordan Hicks is the leader of the group. He was the best linebacker when he got hurt last year, and there is no reason to think he won’t be the best linebacker in 2013. While questions loom about Steve Edmond, he can still do things that most others in the group cannot. Peter Jinkens, Kendall Thompson and Tevin Jackson are thought to be on the verge of breaking out. Aaron Benson and Tim Cole are not far behind, and nobody is talking about the former starter on the roster in Demarco Cobbs, who is recovering from injury.

To steal the line from the 1980’s movie "Can’t Buy Me Love," this group has a chance to go from totally geek to totally chic!

Third down: The replacements

The wide receiver group at Texas lost a great senior in Marquise Goodwin, but this group of could-be-fantastic sophomores and juniors should bring a smile to all Longhorns.

The two sophomores Cayleb Jones and Kendall Sanders even have Mack Brown speaking after practice on the promise they provide for the Longhorn program.

The two juniors are Bryant Jackson, who could be developing into one of David Ash’s favorite targets, and John Harris, who could be playing for his only meaningful time on the field for Texas.

The Texas wide receiver group is in very capable hands especially when we add all of this talent to two of the best wide receivers in the Big 12 conference in Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley.

Fourth down: Who are you loyal to?

I have been asked over and over again if Brown is too loyal to players. Does he hang on to older players as a safety net over possible mistakes by younger players? Brown told us one time that “freshmen want to play, and seniors want to win.” I have even been asked if he is he loyal to the players, which sends a message to recruits, or is he loyal to the university that he works for.

Football is the sport that makes this the easiest thing to answer. I operate under the assumption that Brown is loyal to the game. Football is the most honest sport ever devised. If you can produce, you get to play.

That is where the loyalty should be. Loyalty should be to the game, the coaching profession and the employer.