So how does Diaz plan to keep the defense's confidence up?
"To be perfectly honest with you, we just put the tape on," Diaz said. "There's a lot of good stuff. When we came in Sunday morning as coaches and we watched it, there's a lot of good stuff on that tape. And then when the players come in and watch it, they were a little surprised at how good it looked. There were things that we did in that game that I wasn't sure we were capable of doing.
"When you look at the game in terms of the way that it went, I looked at it as a great offense in baseball that got four outs an inning to many times," Diaz said. "They're really hard to keep off the basepaths when they get three outs an inning. I thought the silent assassin a little bit was field position at times. Because some of the drives either started in four-down territory, which we didn't know going in that that was going to be four-down territory."
That West Virginia went five-for-five on fourth down plays was one of the differences in the game, with Diaz saying that the Mountaineers "out-executed" the Longhorns on those critical plays.
You have to give them credit for sort of damn the torpedos and going for it on fourth down," Diaz said. "But Geno Smith on first, second and third down when you took away screens completed half of his passes for 120 yards. We're talking about a guy that … was having more touchdown passes than incomplete passes. We did some things in that element that hadn't been done to them. Then you go three-of-12 on third down, so you think you're getting off the field."
The issue, Diaz said, is that there was no way to deal with both parts of West Virginia's spread offense. It's a numbers game.
"What West Virginia does, when they're in their three wide receiver set, they're calling a run play and a pass play at the same time," Diaz said. "There's a play in the first quarter, no one notices it, they try to hit Tavon [Austin] over the middle and Vaccaro and Mykkele sort of got bracket, and the ball kind of pops up almost into Mykkele's hands. Their center's five yards downfield blocking Kendall Thompson because it's a run. And the quarterback just has the option on where to throw it.
"So what it does, it's not complicated, you have 11 that you have to decide where to put," Diaz said. "So they have three wide receivers, two of which are as good as anybody in the country. If you cover with four on the three wideouts, then you have seven, which outnumbers the run game seven to six. But that means that you're going to be one-on-one on either both Tavon and Stedman Bailey, with a guy in the middle of the field, or you can put two on one, and then both the other guys are one on one.
"If you put five on those guys, then you're going to have six to play the run," Diaz continued. "Ultimately, that is the dilemma that they put you in. You have to decide where you want to put your numbers. And when you see a team that the week before, one guy had 300 yards receiving and the other guy had 200 yards receiving, our vote was put two on those guys."
"We want to make a team beat you left handed," Diaz said. "But you don't just give them the left-handed layup. So while we were going to devote our energy on stopping their pass game, they ran for more yards than what we wanted [them] to."
That included on the game's final drive. Knowing that the Mountaineers needed to run the ball to run out the clock, the Longhorn defense allowed them to run down the field and add an insurance touchdown on a five-yard Buie run.
"The last drive was unacceptable," Diaz said. "The last drive, that's not what we want to be. We had a hard time shifting gears from what we have practiced all week to what we have played for three and a half quarters to saying 'OK now, four-minute defense, the situation has changed.' That's my fault for not being able to get our guys mentally switched enough to understand that we're not playing them when it's 21-21 in the second quarter. The situation has changed."