"I think they (DEs) are doing fine, I really do," Robinson said during his weekly press conference. "We're just trying to develop depth at that position. I think we're making progress there. I think we've got the numbers better. In the (Rice) game the other night, we got them in early. First quarter, we had already made changes. You know what? We were flying around. We were able to maintain the level of intensity that we're looking for."
Added Robinson: "It's a work-in-progress and I know that I keep throwing that term out, but that's what we are. We're developing. The ends are coming along."
Texas, of course, scrambled from Day One of August camp to plug the gaping void left at defensive end when it lost Mike Williams (academics), Bryan Pickryl (shoulder) and Austin Sendlein (the fifth-year senior called it a career). However, playing a wishbone team like Rice may have augmented former linebacker Brian Robison's development at RDE.
"It really helped Brian Robison because the emphasis on how to take on blockers in the right way was so magnified that it really showed up in the game," Robinson said. "He's become a true defensive end. He's not a linebacker that was converted to defensive end and still learning. He showed some things the other night that he was supposed to look like as a defensive end in just the fundamental phases of the game. That's a big step for us."
Baylor brings more of a pro-style passing game than Texas has seen so far this year.
"I think it's good for us as a team because it's making us adjust and adapt to different styles of offenses," Robinson said. "It really makes you hone your skills. But you've got to create that kind of situation. They know how to run to the football. You've got get them into situations where we can be aggressive. That's really on us."
Baylor is averaging nearly 222 yards through the air and just under 102 rushing yards per game. Baylor QB Dane King has completed 54-of-92 attempts for 604 yards, but he has thrown more picks (6) than TDs (5).
"I'm really glad that we're playing a different style of offense," Robinson said. "It's all about our development to me. I was really proud of the way our secondary played against the wishbone because that's a challenge. They were all over every pass that was thrown at them, other than for a little quick out. At the same time, I thought they run-supported well. They handled four or five key adjustments that we had to make. Going into this game, you can't say you're excited for the secondary, or linebackers, or any one group because you still have to play the game. But I like that we're going to get challenged in a different way."
It's not the challenge that Baylor presents that worries Orangebloods as much as future opponents, notably OU's Heisman winning QB Jason White and Texas Tech's freak show passing game. It's compounded by lingering memories of QB Matt Jones picking his spots as a Razorback team (with just one returning offensive starter) was able to chalk up 283 passing yards against a Texas secondary that is billed as the deepest during Mack Brown's tenure. Part of that was predicated upon a game plan intended to contain Jones' from scrambling out of a collapsing pocket with the assumption that the elusive signalcaller was more likely to hurt Texas with his feet than his arm.
Even so, Robinson vouches for the progress he has seen while continuing to emphasize the team aspect of pass defense.
"If we see a great pass rush, we're going to see great secondary play," he said. "It takes more than just the secondary to get good coverage. It takes linebackers, too. If we've got good coverage on (the QB) and he happens to hold the ball, then the pass rush should be better. This game is about 11 guys. I'm telling you: that's the way it is. It isn't any one phase. It takes 11 guys to play the game, and to excel in any one area, you've got to get the help of another faction of the game. But I'm glad we're going to see a different style of attack. It's going to be good for us to play it. Do I want to see us cover 'em? Absolutely. Would I like to see us intercept some? Absolutely. Would I love to see a great pass rush? Yes. But we better stop the run. Because if it's 2nd-and-three all day, or if it's 3rd-and-two, I promise you that you can't do all those things."