Four downs: Texas defense needs to mesh

Each week Sean Adams takes a look at some topics around the Texas Longhorns and college football.

1st Down: It’s called the “STANDS”

Coach Mack Brown came to Texas and had to explain to the fan base what fans do around the country. He told them to, “Come early, be loud, stay late and wear orange.” I got a text message on my radio show that said, “Mack Brown should change his advice to "Come early, be loud, stay loud and be louder.”

Texas fans are very particular. They are smart, football savvy and demand a lot. The problem is that, historically, they do not give very much to the program other than resources. They check out of games early, leave because of the heat, complain about the schedule and would frankly rather leave and go drink freely at tailgates.

The pomp and circumstance before the game is a wonder to behold. I tell everyone going to a Texas game for the first time to make sure they are in the stadium 30 minutes before kickoff. It is about the band, the Texas flag, the "Eyes of Texas," the video board, "Deep in the Heart of Texas" and all of the burnt orange.

One of the phrases that you will hear at games is, “Down in front.” The Texas fans need to forget the people behind them. They need to not worry about losing their voice. They need to not worry about scratching their $600 boots. They need to show up for this team on Saturday.

Texas fans have huge expectations. The fan base should build huge expectations for themselves and show up in a big way. The fact that we can reach back to Texas vs. Ohio State in 2006 and Texas vs. Missouri in 2008 means that showing up does not happen enough.

Show and prove.

2nd Down: It’s all about confidence

There is a lot of attitude on this Texas team and much of it comes from the defense. It is coming from the right place. The defense is usually the emotional leader of the team outside of the quarterback. It has the players that usually dance, make noise, "make it rain" and body bump after big plays.

Here’s the rub: at some point that confidence coupled with huge yards given up turns into false bravado. Confidence cannot remain in a group that gives up 18 receptions for an average of 16.7 yards per reception. Texas defines its explosive plays as any pass resulting in 16 yards or more. Yes, that means that Oklahoma State averaged an explosive play every time it completed a pass

The Texas defense looks confident. It sounds confident. Its talent says that it should be confident. Its play has not been reflective nor does it merit that confidence. At some point, the defense better mesh or it could become a liability.

Meshing on Saturday would be a good thing for Texas fans.

3rd Down: Comparison says Texas

Texas offense vs. West Virginia offense: It would be silly to assume that the West Virginia offense would not have the advantage over the Texas offense. West Virginia has put up huge numbers and nobody will forget the 70 points it put up on Clemson in last year’s Orange Bowl.

The Texas offense is on the way up but not established over time like West Virginia. If there is an advantage, Texas has the advantage in the running game. It has the depth, a better offensive line and a more complete and complex scheme to execute its run game in all phases of the game.

Slight Advantage: West Virginia

Texas defense vs. West Virginia defense: Texas has more NFL talent. Texas has even played better through the first four games. When Texas has played its best compared to when West Virginia has played its best, Texas is a lot better.

Texas has a pass rush that West Virginia cannot match and the amount of pressure that they can apply to Geno Smith will be as much as he has seen in the last two years.

Heavy Advantage: Texas

In a sport where defense matters and is the most important factor for championship teams, this should lead us to conclude that Texas should have the overall advantage.

The operative word there is "should."

4th Down: Keep moving forward ...

David Ash has done everything asked of him and done it well. He is ranked 2nd in the country in pass efficiency. He cannot worry that the guy ranked ahead of him this week will be across the field from him on Saturday.

This is a time for Ash to be selfish and to concentrate on how to evolve and grow every week. Each game has to get better and more confident than the last. If he can build on what he did at Oklahoma State, all things could come up roses for Texas.

He does not have to be great, he has to be himself and play within the structure of this offense.

4th Down: Adams’ Big 12 Power Poll

  1. Kansas State (No. 1 last week): It will probably be jumped by whichever team wins between West Virginia and Texas.

  2. West Virginia (2): It game up 63 points and over 700 yards against Baylor. That is not a championship defense.