"They're going to have the ability to put people in the box and they're going to have the ability to cover the pass."
DeRuyter certainly brings a wrecking crew style with a 3-4 approach that turns blitzers loose from every angle.
"We're still blitzing every down," Aggies safety Trent Hunter said following a win over Louisiana Tech. "Usually about four guys — someone off the edge, or an inside linebacker or something."
The Aggies are forcing turnovers, too, with seven through three games.
"If you play with that fanatical effort, it can cover up a lot of lapses in your defense," Sherman said. "I hope we put that on tape every week and (opponents) say, 'Wow, this team really runs to the football.'"
At Air Force, with lesser athletes than they line up in College Station, DeRuyter's defenses got it done and more. A year ago, the Falcons finished 11th in the NCAA in total defense, allowing 288.31 yards per game. They were fifth in the country in pass defense (with 20 interceptions) and 10th in scoring defense. Their 34 total turnovers ranked fifth.
A bunch of those take-aways came against Houston.
Holgorsen's past clashes with DeRuyter aren't all bad. The two have matched chess moves three times over the past two seasons, including twice in 2008. That season, Air Force won a 31-28 battle in the regular season, before Houston won a rematch in the Armed Forces Bowl, 34-28.
No offense to the Cougars or Falcons, or the Armed Forces Bowl, but the stakes may be higher this time.
The future, both short- and long-term in the Big 12, may hang in the Boone Pickens Stadium air Thursday night.
And by impacting the present and future, Holgorsen can fade history.