Monday, October 22, 2012

Problems on the Forty Acres

36 points and 576 yards against Oklahoma State.

48 points and 460 yards against West Virginia.

63 points and 677 yards against Oklahoma.

50 points and 607 yards against Baylor.

That's what the Texas defense has given up the last four weeks. Somehow the Longhorns came out of it with two wins (one aided by what looked to be a bad call).

At its core, defense in football is very simple. You contain the ball carrier. You hit the ball carrier. You wrap your arms around the ball carrier. You take the ball carrier to the ground. Forget about schemes and blitz packages and nickels and dimes and every other variant of defense that's out there. It all starts and ends with tackling.

Phil Steele, the college football guru, had the Texas defense ranked high at the beginning of the season. According to Mr. Steele, the UT defensive line was ranked 4th. Their linebacker corps was ranked 20th. The defensive backfield came in as his number 1 ranked unit.

How wrong could one person be.

The Texas defense, and I'm not certain defense is the right word, has been downright horrible this season. Not one game has passed without someone gashing the Texas defense for a long touchdown run - well, except for New Mexico (but their main goal seemed to be to keep Texas under 100 points).

Mack Brown brought in Manny Diaz from Mississippi State two years ago to replace Will Muschamp who took the head coaching gig at Florida. Mr. Diaz was supposed to be the next big thing among defensive coordinators. Lots of pressure and exotic blitz packages were supposed to take Texas to the tops of the polls. Not quite.

The Longhorns lost a number of defensive starters this past season - but, as Texas fans know, the Longhorns just go out and reload every year. The saying is that Texas doesn't recruit, Texas picks who it wants. The recruiting classes under Mack Brown have been in the top 5 nationally most years.

And that raises an important question. Are the recruiting classes not as good as we've been led to believe, or do they just not receive the coaching they need to succeed? Judging by the missed tackles I'm seeing week in and week out, I have a feeling that it's the latter. And, if it is the latter, then Mr. Diaz is the one holding the bag.
But even though the  Longhorns gave up more points on Saturday than they did in either of those shootouts, Diaz said he's take the outcome anyway. 
"There are a lot of things we need to fix," Diaz said. "But there are a lot of things that are encouraging."
Those comments from Manny Diaz were taken from an article in the Houston Chronicle (the mobile edition) that has since been edited. Those comments tell you all you need to know about Mr. Diaz and the reason he should not be working at the defensive coordinator at the University of Texas. There was nothing encouraging about what the defense did on Saturday night.

If Mr. Diaz had any self respect he'd hand Mack Brown his resignation letter first thing Monday morning so the Longhorn Nation can put this nightmare behind it. I don't care how aggressive his defenses are supposed to be. I don't care how often they come on crazy blitz packages. I want to see them tackle people and keep them out of the end zone.

Please, Mack, fire Manny Diaz now.

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