October 17, 2006

Texas looking for answers in the secondary

Seven games into the 2006 season and the fifth-ranked Texas Longhorns are still trying to find the answers at a trouble spot that figured to be a team strength coming into the season.

Injuries, inexperience, miscommunication and a number of other issues have made the Longhorns secondary a roller coast ride through the first seven games of the season. Never was that more apparent than on Saturday night when they were torched for more than 300 yards through the air and 31 points on the scoreboard by a Baylor squad that has had trouble moving the ball all season.

After ranking in the top-five in pass defense last season, the Longhorns currently rank 77th in pass defense and 54th in pass efficiency defense. With 16th-ranked Nebraska next on the schedule, the Longhorns are looking for answers.

"The biggest problem (this season) we've had is giving up big plays in the secondary," Texas head coach Mack Brown said. "I think it's because we've had so many problems there this year. It's just been very difficult. Duane (Akina) is doing a great job with trying to hang in there and mesh. We're trying to find out who the other guy is and the other night (it was) who the other two guys are that can help us. Then trying to be simple enough for inexperienced players to play and still have enough to stop a good throwing team is a difficult thing. We're having to pull out all of our chips."

There's no question that the Longhorns have struggled to replace Michael Huff and Cedric Griffin, both of whom were higher NFL draft picks this spring, but with seniors Michael Griffin, Aaron Ross and Tarell Brown returning to the line-up, along with junior Marcus Griffin, the Longhorns figured to have one of the best defensive backfields in the nation.

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