Akina: 'We are a press team'

If you want to play at Texas, you'd better be able to press cover your man.

That was part of the message delivered by Longhorn defensive backs coach Duane Akina this week.

"That's kind of been our history to all the way back when I first started here: we are a press team," Akina said. "We always have been. Since the `80s, that's our starting point. You kind of look at what the offense does. Who you're playing against, and you figure out what you need to do.

"You never want to be one-dimensional, and I think in the growth of a defensive back, you want to make sure they have a lot of different skills for them to have an opportunity to go on and play, (but) we are a press team," Akina said. "We're one of the few that do it quite a bit in the conference, and I think that gives you a chance to play against passing teams, where you can keep your guys close to them."

Akina said the Oakland Raiders served as an early model, back when they played the "nine-man defense."

"That was the model for us, and we went to it when the Raiders were playing it a lot," Akina said. "We found that it helped us in recruiting, and we found that you could recruit athletes to it and it's what the NFL looks for. It helps us across the board I think. It helps us schematically in recruiting, and it helps the kids for their future down the road.

"I think that's one of the attractions to us," Akina said. "(Recruits) see guys down there challenging, playing press-man."

At times, that can be a challenge against a Texas Tech team that lines up in 10 personnel (one running back, zero tight ends).

"They are very, very efficient at what they do," Akina said. "Ever since Mike Leach was there. Every year seems like 350 to 380 [yards] is their magic number to throw and 500 yards is what they are. I say this every week though, you just look beyond them and you see more of the same in this conference. Once again, it's a lot of fun."

But just because the offense is as effective as it's been doesn't mean it's a similar offense, Akina said.

"I don't think there are too many similarities," Akina said. "I would say that there are a lot of principles that are the same. When you get into spread teams, they all really run a lot of the same concepts that are out there. Each offensive coordinator may put in his own little wrinkle. Or there may be personnel that are different spots, whether it's one to the field, one to the boundary or two to the field, wherever you choose to put your receivers of choice. For the most part they have the same principles. If they see man they do something, if they see zone they do the same thing."

At the same time, the main key is the same: make quarterback Seth Doege uncomfortable.

"He's like a lot of the quarterbacks that have come out of that system," Akina said. "He's very efficient on where he goes with the football. He understands their offense and understands coverages, and what he's seeing and where he needs to go. We have to do a good job of mixing some things up, and we have to do a good job disguising and getting him off rhythm."

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