Akina Takes DBs Back to Basics

Texas defensive backs coach Duane Akina talks about the need to play with proper technique, and the challenge Oklahoma State presents offensively.

Texas defensive backs coach Duane Akina said that bye weeks present him with the chance to go back to basics.

"What we have always done in the off week doesn't change much," Akina said. "I like to go back to the basic fundamentals of the game. We go back into our block protection work and putting off blocks and tackling. You can get after each other a little bit because you can lick your wounds. We get back to the technique.

"I am a big believer in technique is what really wins for you," Akina said. "There will be times when athletic ability [wins] and you are better than your opponent, but those games don't count. It is when you are lining up against another great athlete. Athletic ability cancels each other out; now it is the technician that wins. We are starting to get into that stretch of the season where athletic ability is going to cancel each other out. It is the ones that are the technique sound and understand splits and the little things of the game that I always harp on."

One of Akina's better fundamental players has typically been cornerback Carrington Byndom, though Byndom has had a few struggles in the early-going.

I think Carrington is playing well," Akina said. "Last week was a commercial to underthrow the deep ball. He's got great coverage, and if he gets a halfway decently thrown football I think it is intercepted. He is playing well, but as you know our standard is extremely high there and we just have to get [the receiver] on the ground.

"When you play a real aggressive style of secondary play with a lot of bump-and-run and your own islands down there, that is going to happen," Akina said. [But] there are a lot of incompletions and a lot of sacks that come from when that first look is not open. It is a lot of give and take and a lot of hidden plays in there from great coverage that he had that you wouldn't necessarily see unless you watched the film."

Byndom exploded onto the scene last year with a sublime effort on Justin Blackmon, holding the All-American to four catches for 48 yards when the two were matched up. This year, even without Blackmon, Akina said the Cowboy wideouts would continue to present a challenge.

"The staff has done a great job of utilizing their weapons," Akina said. "They still have a well-conceived system. Without Blackmon, it has not hurt their offensive numbers. They do a nice job inside, and they still have their vertical game. They also do a nice job with their option-passing game. With their 12 and their 20 stuff, their two back sets, they can run the ball and have the play action pass. They do a nice job with their play action pass, much like the concerns you had with Ole Miss and the pop pass and the vertical throwing game off the hard run.

"So it is another game that will challenge the secondary's eyes," Akina said. "We have to make sure we keep the chunks off the field."

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