Texas Faces Different Challenge This Week

Texas defensive backs coach Duane Akina discusses defensive communication and this week's game against New Mexico.

One of the biggest storylines coming out of Texas's 37-17 victory over Wyoming was the struggle to communicate defensively. Could Texas chalk those up to first-game jitters?

"I think it has been better," said Texas defensive backs coach Duane Akina. "All the common concerns showed up in the first game that you always have. Tackling is always a big concern for yourself. We found a way to turn a four-yard completion on third down to an 85-yard touchdown, which I think was the only conversion they had on third down. You can see as the game went on, we tackled better which is what you want.

"This [game] will be another challenge because when you play option football it is one-on-one in a different sense," Akina said. "The quarterback is one-on-one with somebody, the pitch is one-on-one, and so it is another good challenge for us to work on our tackling. It was disappointing on two plays we had a communication mistake, and they found big plays against us. That has been a strength in the past, taking away the big play, but we hurt ourselves the last game. That is certainly a focus in this team because big plays are a big part of this offense also."

"This offense" refers to New Mexico, a team that has moved to more of a triple option attack under new head coach Bob Davie. The Lobos were one of college football's most explosive teams in Week One, and currently sit fourth nationally in scoring offense.

"This week is a different challenge in some ways," Akina said. "It is a big eye-discipline game. There will be challenges anytime you face an option-oriented team. Who's got the dive? Who's got the quarterback? Who's got the pitch? Along with all of that, you still have the shot plays because here the throwing game is for points. They are down field throws. With all of the deception, everything looks the same. It is a great eye-control game for us. It is a great chance for us to now play a different style of offense to get us prepared for the Big 12. Next week is a little but of both personalities. Once again, [they have] two quarterbacks, and they both have their certain strengths."

The Lobos only threw the ball 10 times last week, and Akina was quick to point out that Texas wouldn't be preparing to face 30 passes this week.

"You have to defend what you see," Akina said. "You don't want to chase ghosts. Any time there is a new offensive coordinator in there, you are not sure what personality. I would think the history is they want to run the football. They want to shorten the game. They want to try and take their shots where they can and quicken the game up. I would think that would be their personality. If there is a big play out there to get to try to hunt the big chunk of yardage in there."

One of those big play threats is Ohio State transfer Lamaar Thomas, who lines up in a wide receiver role for the Lobos.

"I think he is real athletic," Akina said. "He runs after the catch. It looks like he didn't get the ball as much as he would have liked to, but I'm sure there is a whole lot more offense in there that we have not seen because the game got out of hand rather quickly. It looks like he is a good athlete. He was a punt returner at Ohio State so obviously he can do something with the ball in his hands in space. It will be a great opportunity for us to defend a great player."

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