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Depth Chartin': Defense

Our last projected depth chart before practices resume in August, which is right around the corner. I suppose the bright side of being so slammed this summer is that I've not had time to sit around and think about how desperately I want football. (Then again, even a Playstation game of Longhorn football made a schoolgirl out of me.)

Summer Projected Depth Chart: Defense



Scheme: We've talked a lot this summer about the wide-open passing attacks that define the Big 12 offensively these days, and we know that Texas hasn't done a particularly good job adjusting the past two seasons. Though personnel was a problem in 2007, the same can't be said of 2006, when our secondary of NFL players repeatedly struggled.

Will Muschamp appears to have noticed, as when he talks about being "multiple" on defense. Being multiple isn't so much a scheme as a philosophy, which Texas fans can expect to manifest itself in numerous ways, one being the deployment of a 4-2-5 defense to avoid mismatches. As much fun as it was to watch Norton, Muckelroy, and Kindle make plays on the football last year, they weren't at all strong in pass coverage. But even if they were, Big 12 offenses make you pay for trying.

Though Texas' secondary is going to be a green one this fall, they're going to be baptized by fire, often five at a time. While the young ones are sure to suffer some at-times ugly growing pains, there's no shortage of athletic talent; by season's end, Texas should be fielding a championship-caliber secondary.

Defensive Line: If Texas fields a great defense this fall (as opposed to merely good), it would likely be because of this group. Young though the secondary will be, many disasters will be averted if the front four is supplying a legitimate pass rush on its own. And this group very well might. Health is critical.

Linebackers: Kindle's knee remains an issue (haven't heard any updates), making this group a bit hard to evaluate during the summer. If Keenan Robinson is indeed as ready for significant minutes as some of his hypesters suggest, I'll feel a lot better.

Overall: I'm encouraged. With some good luck with injuries, this defense could be great all year. I suspect it will be great by season's end, regardless. Maybe most important, it should be a fun group to watch this fall, devoid of many of the frustrations which defined the '07 unit - from play calling to scheme to personnel. Finally, keep an eye out for updates on Sergio Kindle, Curtis Brown, Aaron Lewis, and Ishie Oduegwu, all of whom missed spring drills with injuries.