The Texas defensive coaches believe they have some solid individual pieces to build around, including end Cedric Reed, tackles Malcom Brown and Desmond “Tank” Jackson and cornerback Quandre Diggs.
Texas coach Charlie Strong hasn’t been afraid to talk up those players and the rest of his defense on the Comin’ On Strong Tour. Those four players have been cited as ones who bought in early and are helping lead the transition.
“A lot of times when you walk into programs, there’s no players and there’s some resentment,” Strong said. “The players have been unbelievable with their work ethic and their attitude. They just want to make a change themselves. They want everybody to realize that we have a chance to have a really good football team. Now, a lot has to come together. I mean, you watched the spring game.”
On Thursday, we featured Strong’s comments about the offense. Now, here’s a look at what he said in Dallas about the defense.
“The thing I like is that our guys know this: we’re going to go play great defense,” Strong said. “You win by playing great defense, and it all starts up front. So it starts with our defense line. You have Tank Jackson, Malcom Brown are the two inside guys. Cedric Reed, a young man that had 10 sacks last year, and (Shiro) Davis at the other end.
“Linebacker right now is a concern because you like Steve Edmond and have (Dalton) Santos inside,” he continued. “But with (Peter) Jinkens, he has to come around and develop. Tim Cole has to develop. And then we’ve got to get some depth at that position. So once we get some depth at the linebacker position, you feel like you have enough in place but you always want more, as I always say.
“And then the secondary, with Duke Thomas and (Quandre) Diggs on the corner. With Mykkele Thompson and Josh Turner at the safeties, then we get a chance to get (Sheroid) Evans back, we feel like we have a really solid back end.”
Strong gave a brief summation and then addressed special teams.
“So we can’t give up the big play on defense,” Strong said. “We’ve got to play great defense. Offensively, we just got to make sure the quarterback manages the offense, and if we do get in a bad play, we have to be good enough to get ourselves out of it. Then you look at (William) Russ as our punter and Nick Rose as our field-goal kicker. That’s a good battle.
“So right now the guys are working hard. We’ve got two more weeks of school left here,” Strong added. “This week, our coaches — I wish I had some of them with me here so you had an opportunity to meet them — they are meeting with the players. And next week, I’ll meet with them when I get back. So while I have the Tour going, during the day I get to meet with the players and then I get to come out and Tour at night.”
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