Longhorns Face Running QB Challenge

One of the more underrated challenges for a defensive back comes when he faces a mobile quarterback.

And that's just the challenge that Texas will be facing when it takes on Wyoming, and Cowboy dual-threat quarterback Brett Smith. In addition to passing for 2,622 yards and 20 touchdowns, Smith hit the turf to rush for 710 yards and 10 touchdowns at 5.1 yards per carry.

Smith truly took off in the season's final six games, averaging almost 80 yards rushing per contest and 7.7 yards per carry, while scoring four touchdowns on the ground.

"His legs [stand out]. He is very productive," said Duane Akina, Texas defensive backs coach. "You have to defend the quarterback run game. They do a lot of things formation-wise that can give him some good angles and some good numbers."

But as with any running quarterback, defenders have to be wary of more than the quarterback run game: trying to track Smith after he breaks containment in the scramble or scramble-throw game.

"He can also keep himself alive with the throwing game, so there are times you may have to cover him twice," Akina said. "You may have initial coverage, but he can extend plays with his legs and create offense down the field. We have to work hard. We have get our eyes back if we see him move and relocate our eyes again back on our targets.

"I think he is coming in with a lot of confidence," Akina said. "He had a very good freshman year, and his main weapons are back so I think he is excited. The last time they lined up against the University of Texas they faired very well for a while there. We are all excited to get the opportunity to play against a real productive quarterback.

Meanwhile, the Longhorn defensive backs will have to contend with a spread attack that could immediately place strains on the Texas depth at those positions.

"I think it is good," Akina said. "There are some guys that don't like that, but it gives us a chance to see where we are at with our depth. It forces us to play six guys out there. It also puts us in a position where we can stay with our regular personnel and see guys play in space. I think we will come away with a good feel of where we are overall defensively with maybe a core of 18 players or so."


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