Taylor Estes - Horns Digest

Charlie Strong Vows Texas Longhorns Defense Will Be Fixed

Texas head coach Charlie Strong vows he will fix the Longhorns' defense.

It felt like one of those crossroads moments listening to Charlie Strong on Monday vow that he's going to be more involved with the defense and that it will get fixed.

When I asked if that meant Strong replacing Vance Bedford in calling the defense, the third-year UT coach said, "I have two weeks to evaluate it."

When asked why Strong wouldn't just take over the defense himself, Strong suggested maybe someone else on staff could handle getting the defense fixed.

"There's other guys sitting there with the capabilities to take over the defense," Strong said. "But the bottom line is the defense can be fixed. I'll get more involved, and we'll get it fixed."

Without even saying it, the person Strong was obviously referring to is the assistant he's closest to - maybe on the entire staff (along with strength coach Pat Moorer) - LB coach/recruiting coordinator Brian Jean-Mary

When senior safety Dylan Haines was told Strong was going to get more involved with the defense, Haines said, "I don't think it means anything. I've been coached for three years by Coach (Vance) Bedford, and I think he's doing a great job."

Strong made it clear  his team's problems are on defense.

When asked about things the offense can improve, Strong said, "When you rush for 300-plus yards offensively, we handled our business. And we know we can improve. When they (Cal) scored, we matched their score right away.

"We'll get better offensively because we have the added dimension of running the ball."

Shane Buechele and Tyrone Swoopes said Monday there will be no finger-pointing between an offense that is averaging 44.7 points per game (after averaging 26.4 ppg last season), and a defense that gave up 18 plays of 11 yards or longer Saturday night in a 50-43 upset loss at Cal.

"We just have to trust each other and know we have to get better," Buechele said. 

Said Swoopes, "Everyone knows this team does things collectively. When you look at the record, it doesn't say a loss for the Texas offense or a loss for the Texas defense. So we just need to stay cohesive."

It has the feel of one of those crossroad moments.

Strong, who oversaw Florida defenses on national championship teams that gave up 13.5 points per game 2006 and 12.9 points per game in 2008, said the defense is going to get fixed.

If anyone knows how to do it, it should be the Texas head coach himself.

His legacy in Austin likely depends on it.


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