As the preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Texas Longhorns sophomore linebacker Malik Jefferson is facing high expectations entering his second season in Austin, so the ‘Horns will be looking for him to make more plays like he did during Tuesday’s practice:
Jefferson read the out route by junior Jake Oliver from the inside receiver position as freshman quarterback Shane Buechele was forced to reset his feet and drift out of the pocket.
Because Buechele couldn’t get the ball out on time, the pass was late and Jefferson was able to easily break on the football. In fact, Jefferson got there so quickly that the pass was behind him and he had to adjust before securing the interception.
Considering that Jefferson only forced one turnover last season (a forced fumble), his ability to make a difference in creating short fields for offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert’s attack could be a huge boon for the ‘Horns in 2016.
For Buechele, this is an example of how a collapsing pocket can obstruct his throwing lanes more easily than taller quarterbacks, so it’s important that he doesn’t attempt timing passes after the window for his intended pass has already closed.
There’s going to be some growing pains for him this season, but here’s hoping that this play says more about Jefferson and the type of season that he can have than it does about Buechele.