Ask Brian Jones

Former Longhorn and NFL linebacker Brian Jones answers your questions.

Q: Brian, in last week's Q&A you mentioned the fact that Texas did not play great defense even though they're patting themselves on the back for holding OU to 12 points. It seems like even Greg Robinson thought the defense did a good job in reflection (see article in Inside Texas). I've got to believe he knows the defense is not good, that's why they keep calling it a work in progress. However, I'm really wondering if he's holding back public criticism because that's how Mack Brown wants it?

B.J.: I don't know and it's tough for me to answer that question not being in there on a day-to-day basis with the coaches, and not being in the meetings with Mack Brown I can't really give you an answer to that question without being privy to the information. Did they do a good job, yes, they did a good job vs. OU and one thing I look at is sudden change; how do you do when there's a turnover and you have to go back out on that field and the opposing offense has the momentum. I thought they did an excellent job in sudden change. Yes, they should be happy with that, but when you give up over 300 yards rushing, you give up 225 to one player, you can not be excited and pleased with that effort. Sorry, you just can't be. There are some things you can pick and choose in that defense where they looked great, but there are a lot of other things where they didn't. I understand Robinson wants to keep the morale up over there and he wants his guys recognized when they do well, as he should, but you also have to point out the problems with the defense as well and where they're not really playing well.

Q: Did you see anything in the Missouri game on the defensive side of the ball that gives you faith that Texas can slow Tech, or are the two offenses too dissimilar to know anything based on last Saturday's performance?

B.J.: They're too dissimilar. They're not even comparable. You've got one quarterback in Brad Smith that throws for a little over 200 yards per game and he had a horrible game against Texas, throwing two picks, and he has the running element to his game as well whereas Texas Tech is leading the nation in passing, well over 400 yards per game, well over 500 yards total offense per game. Totally different set-ups, totally different mind-set, totally different gameplan and offense than Missouri. [Follow-up question: Then from a personnel standpoint did you see anything that made you believe that the Texas defense is going to be successful vs. Tech...] No. Nothing. Nothing made me think -- and I know at the end of the game they were able to put pressure on Brad Smith and then get a couple of sacks, but no, there's nothing. If you blitz Tech, that means somebody is going to be open. They do an excellent job of hitting their hot receivers and Texas is still becoming comfortable with this zone defense and knowing a quarterback is going to attack and what receivers they need to match onto. And secondly, the biggest problem for Texas is its pass rush is nonexistent. We haven't seen it. Till those two sacks last week, Byron Jones at A&M, a cornerback, had more sacks than the entire Texas defense. That's inexcusable. That's something that the defense and the defensive linemen should be upset about, the fact that a cornerback had more sacks than them. So no, there was nothing in the Missouri ballgame that showed me they can handle Texas Tech.

Q: Put yourself in coach Robinson's shoes. What the heck do you do to slow the Tech offense?

B.J.: Take a page out of Oklahoma's playbook. Oklahoma put pressure on Cumbie up the middle. Get those two defensive tackles driving straight ahead up the middle, maybe bring a linebacker every now and then and force Cumbie to go left or right. You have to force him to go side-to-side, you just can't allow him to sit back there and get comfortable. Force him to go side-to-side, because then when you bring your zone blitz, he's going to run into one of those corners or outside linebackers that are coming, so put pressure up the middle and get your hands up. That's a big key. Get your hands up to knock balls down. [Follow-up question: Is Rod Wright and Larry Dibbles, or Stevie Lee, or Frank Okam or Derek Lokey, are any of those guys capable of getting a pass rush up the middle in this game?] They're going to have to for Texas to win. You really don't look for your defensive tackles to get a lot of sacks, and I'm not looking for them to sack the guy. I'm not saying that. I'm saying put pressure on him so he does not become comfortable, so he can't just stand back there and survey the field. Get the guy moving side-to-side. Other quarterbacks you want to keep in the pocket, this is one of those guys you want to get moving out of his comfort zone.

Q: OK Brian, no getting off easy this week. I want you to pick the winner and the score of this Saturday's game in Lubbock and tell us why you made that pick?

B.J.: Well, if I could pick the score, I'd be in Vegas making a lot of money. I think Tech wins this ballgame, and here's why. First of all, go back to the game in 2002 when Texas lost the game 42-38. You had Chris Simms, a helluva quarterback, you had a helluva receiving corps, B.J. Johnson, Roy Williams, Sloan Thomas, you had a heckuva running back in Cedric Benson, who's still there, and they still lost because their defense couldn't put pressure on Kliff Kingsbury. You have to be able to put pressure on the quarterback. Texas is not doing that and that's one big reason why I feel they will lose this ballgame. Sonny Cumbie, he's so good back there. Yes, it took him a little while to get comfortable but he's comfortable now and they put 70 up on both home opponents this season. So the main reason, no pass rush from Texas. Second reason, Texas is one-dimensional. They don't have all the threats that they had in 2002 and they weren't even able to win in 2002.

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Brian Jones played middle linebacker for the Longhorns in 1989 and 1990, leading the team in tackles both seasons and earning all-SWC honors as a senior before an eight-year NFL career with the Colts, Dolphins, Raiders and Saints. He also recently worked as the sideline reporter for the Longhorn Radio Network, host of Longhorn Sports Center and co-host of a popular radio sports talk show in Austin. His 'Ask B.J.' columns appears weekly during football season on

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