Longhorn DBs Grading Well

It seems like every week, the Texas secondary faces a different challenge.

What about Ole Miss? Well, simply put, the Rebels present the biggest challenge the Longhorns have faced so far, per defensive backs coach Duane Akina.

"There are different challenges here once again," Akina said. "The offense can get a little more vertical. I think this corps of receivers is probably the best group of receivers we have seen. The quarterback once again is very active. He can move around and do a lot of things. Anytime anyone can put up the numbers that they have generated offensively so far this year, it gets your attention.

"There are similarities in both games with some of the run game and some of the deception throws that they do," Akina said. "They do a nice job with play action pass and finding shots down the field, so there is a lot of carryover from last week's game. It really challenges the secondary's eyes and puts a lot of people in one-on-one situations out there. They have been able to win their fair share of one-on-ones so far in the two games. There will be a little more spread offense which we saw in the first game, too. So there is carry-over in both games."

Akina also has a high opinion of new Rebel starting quarterback Bo Wallace.

"I see a guy that has been very active," Akina said. "He has kept them out of very negative plays. He has turned some potentially negative plays into positive plays for them. He has thrown a very good completion rate and when there are shots downfield to hit, he has hit them. I think he is going to be a good challenge for us right now on the road in a real hostile environment."

Akina said the Longhorn secondary graded out well after the New Mexico game.

"I think they grew quite a bit from the first game to the second," Akina said. "I thought our tackling was more efficient. They are very diverse formation-wise, so that was a challenge but where we got fooled early on, we got better. That is part of the growing pains that you go through in this game. I expect them to continue to grow every week and not only the young players, but we set a high mark for the veteran players also. We expect Kenny [Vaccaro] to continue to grow and A.P. [Adrian Phillips] and Carrington [Byndom] and Quandre [Diggs] … I thought they all upped their game from the opener, too."

Akina said the Longhorns have a chance to put together an excellent secondary this year.

"I have been here now for 12 years, another place for 15 prior to that," Akina said. "I have been doing this for 30 years and we've got one way to play. We know what it should look like when we look at the tape of ourselves. I think where I stand and knowing the standards we have here in our room as a defense and with the good defenses that we have had here, I like the level of physical play that we are at right now.

"We will let our games talk for us," Akina said. "I don't think the game can be won in a media conference or anything like that. I think we will get out there and play hard. I would say that I have had a lot of outstanding safeties here, and I would put Kenny Vaccaro in there with the best ones I've had. I'm talking about the Michael Huffs, the Michael Griffins and the Earl Thomases. So I think if I can put him in that light it speaks for itself."

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