Run and Shoot: Big 12: Double the D

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Big 12: Double the D

SAN ANTONIO -- It's no secret that Texas' secondary left something to be desired last year. The Longhorns' pass defense ranked 99th in the nation and the team's best play makers graduated, leaving more question marks than exclamation points in the back seven. But head coach Mack Brown has a plan: create two defenses.

"We're going to talk to our defensive staff this week about the possibility of trying to look at playing two deep but maybe playing one complete defense for 11 plays and take them out and put an entire other defense in for 11 plays so we can develop more depth and find out how good some of those young ones are," Brown said.

In his ten minutes on stage, Brown emphasized the importance of bringing together the experienced returning players with the inexperienced raw talents, since his team seems to have a lot of both but he doesn't want to overload the field with either.

"We've got to do a great job of trying to mix those two together and get them to be able to connect and get the right chemistry," Brown said.

In the secondary, Brown pointed to six players with experience, none of whom had started yet for reasons ranging from age to injury. The linebacker spot seems equally shaky.

"We’ve got 3 older linebackers that have played well, then you’ve got 3 younger ones that are really talented but haven’t played very much, and you’d like to get them some experience, but I don’t know that you can do it every six plays for a whole season," Brown said. "It’s a concept that I’d like just to look at to see if it’s something that we could do to build that much depth. Morale’s better, it helps you with injuries, we had a horrible run with injuries last year, and obviously even if you had to call some different defenses with the guys that are in there, you can learn a lot more about the guys and maybe by mid-season you could at least get settled with some of the inexperienced guys."

Whatever Brown decides to do in his defensive rotations, the secondary cannot be much worse than it was last season, so he doesn't have much to lose on that front. With one of the top defensive line units in the country anchored by Frank Okam and Derek Lokey, Texas should again be effective at stopping the run, but their success this season hinges on new defensive coordinator Duane Akina's ability to devise some way to stop the pass.

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