Texas' D can handle Oklahoma
The Longhorns have struggled, but they still can shut down the Sooners
One of the recurring themes in Bill Walsh's football analysis was the idea that defense is more personnel-oriented than offense. He knew it was possible to use creative play-calling tactics to work around player weaknesses on offense, but on defense it boils down to personnel quality, because intelligent playcallers can always find a way to target any defensive talent deficiency.
That idea is worth keeping in mind when reviewing the current defensive state of the Texas Longhorns. Since 2008, the Horns have recruited 26 defensive players who were rated in the ESPN 150 rankings, so talent is certainly not an area where they're lacking.
The problem for the Horns is that their seeming personnel advantage hasn't panned out this year. According to cfbstats.com, Texas ranks 106th in the FBS in average yards allowed per play, and the Longhorns are coming off a game in which they gave up 460 yards of offense and 48 points in a loss to the West Virginia Mountaineers.
That would look to be a gargantuan problem going into a matchup against an Oklahoma Sooners offense that just put up 41 points in a win against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, yet a closer look shows the Longhorns' defense will still hold its own in this year's Red River Rivalry.
To read why Texas' defense is still plenty capable of handling OU, you must be an ESPN Insider.
MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL HEADLINES
- Hurricanes TE Dye, NCAA to discuss affidavit
- Notre Dame paid Weis more than Kelly in 2011
- Ex-Penn State QB Bench transferring to USF
- Host Finebaum joining SEC Network, ESPN
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Insider CFB content
Expert Takes• Insider: Can Clemson win it all? | Louisville
• Kiper: Top prospects for 2014, by position
• Haney: CFB's top 10 teams based on talent
• Kiper: Top QB prospects for 2014 | RBs | WRs
• Haney: Make-or-break QB prospect scenarios
Post-spring projections• Pac-12: Oregon, Stanford, USC on top
• ACC: Can Clemson win the league title?
• SEC: Bama, South Carolina early favorites
• Big Ten: Surprise winner in Legends
• Big 12: Two-team race for first place
RecruitingNation• Michigan No. 1 in 2014 class rankings
• Luginbill: Answering mailbag questions
• Crabtree: Urban recruits popular draft picks
• Notre Dame, Boise State trending up
• Recruiting updates for Pac-12 teams
• Recruiting updates for Big Ten teams
• Recruiting updates for SEC teams
• Recruiting updates for ACC teams
• Recruiting updates for Big East teams
• Recruiting updates for Big 12 teams
Get news and rumblings before anyone
Travis Haney's blog
Analysis and buzz from around the nation