Texas defense needs quick fix before Longhorns play pass-happy Texas Tech Print
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Monday, 05 November 2007 10:18
NCAAF Headline News

 AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -Cork the champagne and get back to work. Texas can't celebrate another comeback win very long.
Not with Texas Tech up next. The No. 15 Longhorns must fix a pass defense that gave up 430 yards last week to Oklahoma State and allowed the Cowboys to build a big lead before the Longhorns rallied to a 38-35 victory.
In its last two victories, the Texas defense has surrendered 1,134 yards and 60 points.
``Tech gets their yards if you play great,'' Texas coach Mack Brown said. ``If you don't play great, they'll score a million.''
Texas (8-2, 4-2 Big 12) struggled to cover Oklahoma State receivers and couldn't get a pass rush all afternoon. The Cowboys led 35-14 before the Longhorns' offense finally came alive.
It wasn't until the fourth quarter that the Texas defense finally made a play that turned things around. Oklahoma State needed 5 yards on fourth down in Texas territory from the Texas 35 and tried to run a reverse instead of passing. The Longhorns stuffed the play for a loss.
``That sent a message to our bench,'' Brown said. ``That was the play that turned it.''
Now Texas Tech is bringing its potent passing offense to town.
Tech quarterback Graham Harrell leads the nation in passing with 4,412 yards and 38 touchdowns. Receiver Michael Crabtree leads the nation in yards (1,512), receptions (10.4 per game) and touchdowns (18).
Brown has seen similar numbers from the Red Raiders (7-3, 3-3) before. He's been scared of Tech coach Mike Leach's fast-break attack since Tech stunned Texas 42-38 in 2002.
``We've all studied it. We've all looked at it. It's exactly the same - every year it's the same plays, they just put in different guys,'' Brown said.
A common thread to Tech's three losses this season was pressure on Harrell. Blitzing by Missouri and Colorado forced him into bad throws and interceptions.
Another key is defensive backs who can run the entire game with Tech receivers.
``We may have to use 14 defensive backs this week,'' Brown joked.
Texas has won four in a row over Tech with an offense that could eat up the clock and match Tech's scoring bursts. The Longhorns have scored at least 35 points against the Red Raiders in that span.
What Texas can't afford is another slow start. Nebraska was up 17-3 in the third quarter before Texas rallied to win, and had Oklahoma State hit a late field goal, Ryan Bailey's 40-yard field goal would have sent the game into overtime instead of winning it. It was the fourth time this season Texas had to rally in the second half to win.
``We've asked them to start faster,'' Brown said of his team. ``They've refused.''
 

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