Each week presents questions for the No. 25 Longhorns. This week there are more than a few about the future of the program and the coaches that run it. But there is also a game to be played, flaws to be fixed and FBS’s top offense to defend. With that in mind here are three questions about Texas in need of answering by Texas.
1. What is Texas doing in practice this week to shore up the tackling issues?
During the year, unless it is a bye week, there is not going to be any tackling of ones on ones. The defense will go up against the scout team and be slightly more aggressive with these players early in the week. But there is too great a risk of injury to a first-team offensive player if the defense is allowed to tackle them to the ground during a game week. Instead Texas thuds, or hits but does not wrap up, against first team offensive players in practice.
The coaching staff has explored and implemented new drills that emphasize the fundamentals that are necessary to be consistent in tackling. There has also been a call for more intensity during practice.
But the issue, according to the coaches, is not a lack of fundamental skill. A player will exhibit all the right ones and run right through a ball carrier on one play then the next not have the confidence to do it again. So Texas will work more extensively and intensely on specific drills to try and breed more consistency.
2. What happens if Texas loses to Baylor?
Nothing. Well, nothing inside the program. Outside it will be hellfire and brimstone. If Texas were to lose, Mack Brown would take a measured approach and not make any rash decision. He has been at this too long to make a quick decision. Brown is learned enough to know he must not get wrapped up in the vitriol beyond Belmont.
Now, there is no doubt things will be evaluated, especially when it comes to the assistant coaches. But any conversations that will take place will not happen until after the season.
As for Brown’s future after the season, he has built enough cache to be allowed to exit on his terms when he wants to exit. This is not a make or break year for him. Brown is very close to two of Texas’ most influential boosters -- Joe Jamail and Red McCombs. Brown and Jamail are in constant contact. Jamail is worth $1.5 billion, has the field named after him and has plans to donate much more of his fortune to Texas. As long as Brown has those types of boosters as friends he will have a chance to turn the program around.
3. What happens if Texas beats Baylor?
Nothing. It’s expected. The call for Brown’s head will only slightly be quelled. But a win, even over a Baylor team that has the worst defense in FBS, could serve as a confidence boost for the team. Not a huge boost because it is Baylor. But at least the players will be bale to see some success on film. That should allow them a foundation from which to build as they move through to Kansas. Plus, since it is KU in two weeks, a win over Baylor almost assures Texas a two-game win streak and a 6-2 record headed to Texas Tech.