Texas Coaches Still Mulling Options for DBs

Maybe he really doesn't know; chances are he just ain't saying. But Texas DBs coach Duane Akina said he still has not decided who will replace RCB Tarell Brown, suspended for Saturday's showdown against top-ranked Ohio State, in the starting lineup.

"We've got a lot of options," Akina said Wednesday. "We've got a lot of different packages that we can go with."

Tarell Brown was arrested, along with safety Tyrell Gatewood and former Longhorn Aaron Harris, early Monday morning on misdemeanor drug possession charges. Head coach Mack Brown suspended the pair until the case reaches some sort of resolution within the legal process, but the jury is still out on how Texas plans to lock down on explosive WR Ted Ginn, Jr.

"Obviously, that's an issue," Akina said. "He's a tremendous game-breaker. He's got to touch the football, and we understand that. They do a great job of creating opportunities for him. We have to find ways to eliminate that."

Akina likens the situation to the last time Texas battled the nation's top-ranked team on January 4. That's when Tarell Brown and safety Michael Griffin were sidelined for the remainder of the game following a fourth quarter goal-line collision in the BCS National Championship. The patched-up secondary was part of that historic 4th-and-two stand that set up Texas' game-winning drive.

"Those who watched the USC game know that we had a few guys out there who had a great opportunity when we lost Michael and Tarell on that one play. The game didn't stop when we lost those two players."

Thorpe Award-winning SS Michael Huff was credited for limiting Ginn to just nine yards on two receptions in last season's 25-22 Longhorn win in Columbus. But Mack Brown said it was a "swarming defense" that held Ginn in check and, on Wednesday, Akina at least made it clear that it's not his intent to leave any of his DBs on an island with No. 7.

"The responsibility goes to all those veterans (seniors Aaron Ross, Michael Griffin)," Akina said. "(FS) Marcus (Griffin) is another one you can throw into the equation. It's never one person."

Brown's absence is a blow, but Akina does not expect a significant drop-off in production from his secondary.

"We support Tarell," he said, "but our philosophy is one's misfortune is another one's opportunity."

But which other 'one' is going to trot out onto the field at RCB with the First Team against the Buckeyes? Brandon Foster, whom coaches say enjoyed a breakout spring, is listed as Brown's primary backup. LCB Ryan Palmer will likely see some snaps at RCB while Griffin has also trained at the corner.

"We've not made a decision because we're not sure what package we're going to be in. It doesn't matter who's out there. We play with one standard. That's who we are."

The rotation may also include FS Robert Joseph and LCB Chykie Brown, who lost their redshirts in Saturday's 56-7 thumping of North Texas.

"The two young freshmen have come a long and they're slowly learning the package," Akina continued. "The standard will always remains the same. That's our philosophy. It's a Who's-Next? philosophy. We're ready to line up and play."

Bottom line: "We're going to be fine."

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