During the weekly Big 12 conference call, Charlie Strong admitted that changes could be made. He told reporters that “defensively we have our issues” and promised, “Each coach will be evaluated and we’ll see where we go from there.”
That’s potentially bad news for some coaches on the staff, particularly defensive coordinator Vance Bedford. This is Bedford’s third season as the defensive coordinator for Texas. The same mistakes shouldn’t be happening year after year. Yet, the same miscues once again rose up in the loss to Cal.
After giving up 50 points and more than 500 yards of offense to the Bears, pressure is mounting on Bedford. Many fans are calling for his job after the embarrassing effort from his defense on Saturday. Through three games, the Longhorns rank No. 8 in the Big 12 in opponent completion percentage, No. 8 in scoring defense, and last in pass efficiency defense.
Also on the chopping block potentially could be defensive backs coach Clay Jennings. His secondary was out of position against Cal with alarming frequency. Miscommunication let Bears receiver run free down the sidelines, helping Davis Webb spin it for 396 yards and four touchdowns. Additionally, the team has yet to record an interception. Through three weeks, 93 teams in FBS have at least one interception.
The worst part, however, is that Texas appeared woefully unprepared for the Cal attack. Everyone knew Cal was going to throw. They entered the game as the No. 2 passing offense in college football. We all knew they were going to throw to Chad Hansen. The former walk-on junior was the nation’s No. 1 pass catcher after two weeks. He did nothing to hurt his standing against the Horns, catching 12 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns.
Despite the gameplan being easy to predict, Texas seemed surprised by it on the field. Corners routinely lost Hansen in coverage, passing him off to safeties that weren’t there or simply losing track of him in man-to-man. Additionally, Short screen passes turned into big gains when defenders whiffed on tackles.
The performance was reminiscent of Texas’ 40-21 loss to BYU three years ago. In that game, everyone knew Taysom Hill was going to run the ball, just as he did the year before against the Horns. Yet, Texas still seemed surprised when Hill ran roughshod over them with 259 yards and three touchdowns on the ground on just 17 carries. In all, the Cougars ran for 550 yards on Texas. Texas fired Manny Diaz after just two games.
Strong will be more involved going forward. This defense can be improved ahead of their October 1 Big 12 opener against Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Will this current coaching staff be around to see it through?
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