The Texas Longhorns have deserted a disappointing 2013 season and have made changes that look to propel them back into the traditional program that is known for winning. Before the winning can take place Charlie Strong will have to make vast improvements in the Longhorns defense that the country saw last year.
The Longhorns defense was anything but impressive last year. It was a crew that gave up an average of almost 26 points per game, ranking them 56th in the country. In all five losses they gave up at least 30 points. Charlie Strong and the Texas staff are aware that things need to drastically change on the defensive side of the ball if Texas football wants to return to a powerhouse program.
Charlie Strong knows how to build a sound defense as he has done so as the defensive coordinator at Florida and head coach at Louisville. Last year at Louisville, Strong created a defensive masterpiece that would end the year ranked 3rd in the country in scoring defense, giving up 12 points a game. His defense gave up 257 yards a game while Mack Brown and the Longhorns gave up 402.
The 2014 season is stacked with high-powered offensive opponents for the Texas Longhorns. For the past few seasons the program has not been able to keep up with these high caliber offenses but Charlie Strong and company look to change that.
Coach Strong’s first move to transform this defense was the hiring of his former defensive coordinator at Louisville, Vance Bedford. This is a return to home for Coach Bedford since he was a defensive back for the Longhorns (1977-1981). Strong and Bedford are known for molding defenses that are aggressive and disciplined. They believe in throwing many different looks at an offense, mainly by blitzing at a high rate.
The Texas defense will have its first test in week two when they take on BYU. BYU got the best of Texas last year as they put up 40 points to defeat the Longhorns. The next week doesn’t get much easier when the Longhorns take on the dual-threat quarterback Brett Hundley and the UCLA Bruins.
Mid-season, Texas will host the Baylor Bears and attempt to slow down an offense that looked nearly unstoppable last year. Baylor averaged a nation leading 624 yards and 50 points per game. Next, is the Red River Rivalry as the Longhorns take on the Oklahoma Sooners. Oklahoma left a lasting remark on the country as they ended the season by Trevor Knight taking the reigns at quarterback and leading a high-powered offense that would defeat the defending National Champions, Alabama. Trevor Knight and the Sooners look to carry that momentum into the 2014 season and reclaim the bragging rights in the Red River Rivalry.
Finally, the Longhorns will have to go up against a couple more great offenses that are away Big 12 Conference games, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. Both of these schools have been known for operating a gun-slinging offense that can be difficult to contain.
Charlie Strong will possibly have his toughest challenge as a head coach ahead of him this season as he prepares to take on these offenses. The good news is that Texas will bring back many defensive players who have much experience. Strong also did an excellent job of bulking up his defense by adding some excellent defensive recruits, such as defensive end, Derrick Roberson, and defensive tackle, Poona Ford. If Charlie Strong continues his habits of creating outstanding defensive teams then the Longhorn nation should have high hopes of quickly being back to the winning tradition that they knew not too long ago.