Commentary

Texas defense more stout, less aggressive than you might think

Scouts Inc.'s Todd McShay breaks down the film and examines the Texas defense heading into its showdown with high-powered Missouri.

Updated: October 16, 2008, 12:23 PM ET
By Todd McShay | Scouts Inc.
At this time last week, most analysts (myself included) were pointing to Texas' inexperienced secondary as its insurmountable weakness versus QB Sam Bradford and the high-octane Oklahoma offense. That did seem to be the case at times this past Saturday as Bradford threw for 387 yards and five touchdowns.

The young Longhorns defensive backs occasionally suffered from communication breakdowns when deployed in zone coverage. In addition, the shifty Sooners receivers racked up dozens of yards after quick-strike passes when Texas defenders were caught giving cushions.

But an unexpected trend began to emerge as the first half progressed: The more aggressive defensive coordinator Will Muschamp got with his coverage calls, the more success his defense had. It turns out the Oklahoma receivers don't appreciate being challenged physically. Above all, tight man coverage limits their run-after-catch opportunities.