And while plenty of teaching goes into creating some of the country's best defensive backs, one primary tenet always holds true: if you want to play for Akina, you'd better be willing to come up in support in the running game.
This week, the Longhorn defensive backs will get a chance to show that facet of their game.
"You enjoy the Big 12 because the ball is in the air and it’s one of the fun things about this conference," Akina said. "Although we talk all the time about being a complete package, and this is an opportunity for us to show that we are a complete secondary. Show that we can force the run [and] play with great discipline. And I don’t think when you have 12 opportunities in a given season that you can ever get bored."
Akina said that the Kansas State running game forced defensive backs to change their game plans.
"It definitely shifts gears," Akina said. "Eye discipline is always important for us, but now it’s really challenging with the many formations that they show. Anytime that you have a quarterback in shotgun that’s a running threat, you have to add a secondary man into the front, into a gap control front. That challenges us also where there’s even less margin for error.
"We have to see run/pass," Akina said. "When you see it you have to do a great job with the line of scrimmage, and then we have to do a great job with all the vertical throwing game where they get chunks. Then they also do a great job on their quick game, which is high percentage throws that, if you do gang up the front, they’re able to throw the quick game. And then that becomes their running game on either/or downs like first and ten, second and four to six area.We have to be able to change some things up. But the biggest thing is our eye control to negate the vertical throws. We’ve done a nice job on that for the most part this year, and we need another good game with that this week."
Potentially the toughest part could come from quarterback Collin Klein.
"He does run well," Akina said. "There is some deception in his game, and he has the ability as a big target to cut back and then fall forward for positive yardage. We have to do a good job of rallying there and wrapping up because every yard is precious against an offense like this. Every yard is hidden in a game like this."