Akina Talks Special Teams, DBs

Texas defensive backs coach and co-special teams coordinator Duane Akina talks about a couple of player additions, some special teams changes and the importance of the Iowa State game.

Looking for big plays on special teams, Akina said he was excited when Marquise Goodwin returned to the team.

"I think there's always excitement when you've got a game-breaker like that," Akina said. "Offensively, I think it breeds confidence in your team, knowing that at any minute he can create something for us, and he has. And he's another one that's got a lot of value on special teams because of his speed. He's blocked a kick for us in the past. So he's a weapon that we've got to continue to find a way to utilize."

But Akina conceded that Goodwin wouldn't be used as much, if at all, on special teams this week, a decision he made to help preserve Goodwin's body.

"He's still got to callous his body," Akina said. "That sand pit isn't quite as physical as what he's been running into here lately. He may be penciled in here and there, but we're going to pick and choose our spots with him."

That means that veteran running back Fozzy Whittaker will replace Goodwin in spots.

"I think you've got speed, and you've got a physical player that can really hit a crease and come off the other way," Akina said. "Fozzy's a dynamic player when the ball's in his hands, so it's just another way to find a way to get Fozzy the football."

Goodwin wasn't the only player Akina was excited to see return. This week he got back senior safety Christian Scott who, thanks to the departure of Nolan Brewster, will be called on immediately for support. Scott was suspended for the first three games of the season.

Getting a veteran player back like that who has a real physical presence is certainly a bonus," Akina said. "It helps us in our special teams, having a big athlete that has played a lot of football for us and been a very productive player. So it's good timing as we're moving into Big 12 conference [play], and obviously our dime package is going to play an even bigger part in what we're going to be doing, having six defensive backs on the field.

"He hasn't missed a beat, and he did a good job while he was away," Akina said. "He stayed in physical condition and stayed involved in the game. He's a very smart football player. He's a quick study, so it's been a good fit for us."

Scott will be counted on to try and help the Longhorns avenge last year's loss to Iowa State. Both teams enter the game 3-0 and looking for even more momentum.

"What motivates us, or what motivates me, is that there's a game on Saturday," Akina said. "Whether it's Iowa State or BYU, choose somebody and put the ball down and let's play. I think that's the attitude we have here at the University of Texas. I think you can say this is a big game, but guess what? You ask me the same question and that OU game will be a big game. And it will just continue to get bigger and bigger as we continue to stack W's."

Horns Digest Top Stories