Adversity never helps team chemistry and Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown's post-game comments relieving senior leaders Kenny Vaccaro and Alex Okafor of the blame were highly suggestive of a team that doesn't have every player giving full effort and buying into the scheme.
If Brown's thoughts were ominous, the words of Vaccaro were even more so ($) on Monday:
There's three or four guys playing hard, and then not everybody else is," Vaccaro said. "It's causing a cancer on the team, because if we're ever going to be anything decent then we have to play hard. We have to play hard every down, and that's not happening right now.
Okafor sees the problems as "effort and relentlessness," adding the following:
We're waiting on somebody else to make the play.
Questioning effort level? Check. Questioning the resultant impact on team chemistry? Check.
Whatever is going on behind the scenes as the players and coaches work together to try to fix this, it doesn't sound healthy, and the results are apparent on the field.
Sounds like enough to suggest there are some serious problems on defense that go beyond simple tackling, alignment, or scheme.
It sounds like there is finger pointing behind the scenes, with Okafor and Vaccaro essentially saying that everyone else is the problem.
There isn't even a lot of reason to start pointing fingers and burrowing deeply to figure out where the possible divide is occurring -- the only thing that matters is that there are signs of fracturing and if it is on the effort level, among other things, Texas is going to lose a handful of games the rest of this season.
Diaz had a slightly different take:
Texas DC Manny Diaz said his defense is all together "in our own little submarine." O-kay. #ut—kbohls (@kbohls) October 15, 2012
The submarine perhaps looks like this:
Don't you feel better after watching that? Sure you do. Everything is going to be okay.
Unless it isn't, in which case it is what it is. And what it is looks like a submarine quickly taking on water, with the "friends" on board not getting along so well.