Big 12 football: Texas defense is getting better — despite what some scores indicate

Oklahoma State and West Virginia combined for 84 points and 1,036 yards against Longhorns.
by Michael Baldwin Published: October 8, 2012
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photo - West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, left, is sacked by Texas defender Jackson Jeffcoat (44) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) ORG XMIT: TXEG113
West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, left, is sacked by Texas defender Jackson Jeffcoat (44) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) ORG XMIT: TXEG113

Preseason talk within media circles expected the Texas Longhorns to have the best defense in the Big 12.

“I don't think anyone in this building ever said this would be one of our best defenses ever,” Texas coach Mack Brown said Monday on the weekly teleconference. “All the outside entities said that. I constantly said this was a defense that would be young down the middle.

“I thought it would be a defense that would struggle some but get better. They are getting better, but that's hard to believe when you play Oklahoma State and West Virginia, two of the top three offenses in the country.”

The Longhorns surrendered a combined 84 points and 1,036 total yards against OSU and West Virginia. It doesn't get any easier Saturday, when Texas plays Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. The Sooners are averaging 38.3 points and 464 yards a game.

“I'm not giving up on our defense. We're moving forward,” Brown said. “We have only two seniors on it and a lot of young guys fighting to get better. We're going to make a few changes this week and keep trying to get better because defensive coordinators in the Big 12 are going to get gray hair.”

SMITH STILL NO INTERCEPTIONS

West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith has completed 81 percent of 204 passes for 1,996 yards and 24 touchdowns with zero interceptions.

“That's about as good as it gets,” said Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville, whose Red Raiders host the Mountaineers this week. “He'll sit in the pocket, and he'll take a sack. He won't turn the ball over. He understands there's going to be another play.

“He's a cool guy in terms of being under pressure. I've been very impressed.”

West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said the entire offense has played a role in the no-interception streak.

“You have to do a good job of protecting,” Holgorsen said. “Receivers have to run good routes to get open. And when the ball is in the air, receivers have to do a good job and go attack the ball and make sure they're the only ones that can catch it.

“This streak has a lot to do with what the system is and how we coach everybody from a technique standpoint as much as the guy who is throwing it.”


by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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