Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando said he expects his unit to put last week’s loss at Maryland quickly behind it and play fast and free when the Longhorns play host to Tulsa on Saturday in their home opener at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.
Orlando, meeting with the media Wednesday, said he was disappointed by the way the Longhorns’ defense played in the first quarter and called for more discipline after the team had 10 penalties against the Terrapins.
Despite the overall lackluster performance by the unit that’s expected to be Texas’ strength, Orlando said the loss was not an alarm.
“The way we started off was disappointing and the amount of penalties we had was disappointing,” Orlando said. “We tried to break it down for the kids — there were obviously some critical plays that (Maryland) made, especially early in the game, and we didn’t. There were game-on-the-line plays that we just didn’t finish.”
The Longhorns’ defense played its best after the teams returned to the field after a lengthy weather delay, holding Maryland to a field goal and getting the ball back to its offense three times in the final six minutes to provide a chance to win the game.
“We lost that game, but let’s learn how we lost and move forward from it,” Orlando said. “We fought back, especially in the fourth quarter. But starting so poorly really hurt us.”
Orlando said Texas was not surprised that the Terrapins were so proficient in running the jet sweep, but critical breakdowns and missed tackles made it seem like the defense was not prepared for the attack.
“We had worked jet sweeps for four weeks going into the game, so it was a discipline thing, just getting our eyes on the right people,” he said. “It’s something we’ve sure worked on a lot the past few days. The 3-to-0 ratio in turnovers combined with all the explosive plays — you just aren’t going to win many ballgames losing those two categories.”
The focus since last Saturday’s loss has been discipline and attention to the basics, aspects the Longhorns will need to beat a Tulsa team that will look to run 100 offensive plays this weekend.
“We need to get better at being more disciplined — we started in with that on Sunday and have been working on that in the practices since,” Orlando said. “The biggest thing for us is to get lined up and just play fast and free and play overly confident. Tackle them and try to force turnovers.”
–Steve Habel (@SteveHabel)