However it goes down and whatever it may entail, Texas Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong made big promises on Monday to get things right defensively after losing the Saturday shootout to the California Golden Bears.
"The defense will get fixed,” he said. “Whatever I have to do to fix it will happen."
The third-year head coach repeatedly emphasized that all the issues currently facing the defense are fixable.
Fixing the defense may partly be about simplification, as the coverage busts suggest that players don’t always know their assignments, a belief that defensive tackle Paul Boyette Jr. confirmed after the game.
"It's about demanding that things get done,” Strong said. “And we have to make sure if we make a call, the player understands it."
The Texas head coach isn’t willing to accept excuses from his assistant coaches — saying that the technique or coverage was communicated isn’t good enough any more.
The players have to understand the schemes and coverages and fundamentals and Strong seems ready to make any necessary changes after saying that all the coaches will receive evaluations over the next two weeks.
So what’s going to change?
"We have two weeks to look at it," Strong said. "I've been involved in the defense, I can be more involved and I will be more involved. It goes back to accountability; I told the coaches you are a direct reflection of your position."
Strong sits in on the defensive meetings, but doesn’t normally provide a great deal of input into the game plan.
"We go through defensive calls and I pitch in what I think we need to do,” he said. “Once I leave they go through it on their own."
Moving forward, that could change after Strong evaluates his assistants on both sides of the ball during the bye week.
Just don’t expect Strong to take over play-calling duties during the game, as he avoided a direct question about doing so by noting that he has assistants who can do that, perhaps referring to linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary, who would likely be first in line to take over that role if defensive coordinator Vance Bedford receives a demotion.
“There’s other guys with the capabilities to get it fixed,” Strong said.
However, Jean-Mary has never been a defensive coordinator in his coaching career, so it’s unlikely that he’s ever made defensive calls during a game.
Some young players could end up seeing more playing time in that effort to get things fixed, including Fox ends Malcolm Roach and Breckyn Hager and young safeties like DeShon Elliott and Brandon Jones.
After blocking two punts in the last two games, Jones cemented his status as a fan favorite and Strong said that the staff wants to see more of the nation’s consensus top safety product in the 2016 class.
More playing time for Jones would come at the expense of divisive senior Dylan Haines, the former walk on who hasn’t been active enough as a playmaker to make up for his issues tackling in the open field.
At the other safety position, Elliott could step in for junior Jason Hall, who hasn’t made any disruptive plays other than breaking up one pass.
The young players will make some mistakes, but at least they will do so at full speed and with better athleticism than the older players they might replace.
As for the coaching staff, Strong has some decisions to make about his level of involvement with the defense and who is making those defensive calls on game day.