Texas DBs Get Rest from Spread Passing Teams

Texas DBs Get Rest from Spread Passing Teams

Texas defensive backs coach Duane Akina discusses how the defensive backs played against Baylor, the performances of Quandre Diggs and Josh Turner, and preparing for Kansas.

"I thought they played really solid," Akina said of his DBs against Baylor. "You know with a team like that, we took away their vertical throwing game, which was our lead play. The Baylor staff did a great job by late in the first quarter by finding a formation that could get one of our guys in a one-on-one with no over-the-top help. They ran a double move route on Quandre Diggs who was in decent shape and came off stumbling. It was a tough job description on an NFL wide receiver who is going to be an early draft pick.

"So once they found it, we had to change a little bit and give him margin for error because we had zero margins for error on that particular coverage," Akina said. "Then from there we did a great job of taking away the vertical throws. I can't remember what it was when you eliminate all the bubble screens and the back screens. You eliminate that 82-yard throw - what did they say 32 attempts for 168 yards? Which is really what you want to do against an offense like that, which is so vertical."

Akina said it was important for Diggs to have a short memory about that long play.

"You got to let it go," Akina said. "If you are going to play corner, you are going to have plays like that. That is just the nature of the business. Last year was just an incredible year on how we played. Sometimes, even as aggressive as we were to average five yards per attempt is incredible. I think we were second in the nation in giving up explosives. But sometimes it's that fade ball is just a little wide. It's not a perfectly thrown ball. Sometimes we have had great coverage on field, but it is just a well-thrown football. We watch tape against some teams and there is somebody popping wide open, but the quarterback doesn't see him.

"It's tough, and we understand it is a difficult job description," Akina said. "I got to help them as a coach. Sometimes you got to be tough on them and others you just got to grab them and hug them. If you are asking your players to do something that is just a real difficult task, as a coach you have to be able to see that on Saturday and make the adjustment. Anybody can see it on Sunday, but you got to be able to see it on Saturday."

What everybody saw on Saturday was the first strong game from safety Josh Turner.

"He made some great plays, and they all will [miss some plays] when they are lining up against a team where you have 90 snaps in a game," Akina said. "But he certainly made big plays. Obviously the interception was another big play where we got points out of. It was a super catch, and he is one of the few guys out there that is capable of making that play. You know moving to his right, having to come back, ball off his body. He did a nice job of rolling. That is the key to that catch. You got to catch and roll and keep the ball up to really convince the judges that it was a catch.

"He has a knack for the ball," Akina said. "We've had a couple guys here that have that ability. You know Nathan Vasher had that ability. Aaron Ross, Quandre Diggs has got a little bit of that ability, and Earl Thomas had that ability. The ball just finds them. Josh is that way, and we are not surprised. He does that at practice, too. That is one of the things that really stands out with him. He has some nice natural instincts for the football."

But the Texas DBs face a different challenge this week in the run-first, run-second Jayhawks.

"This is a different offense where now you have to get off the ball because they will run the ball and do those things, which may not have all the vertical throwing game challenges and the one-on-one challenges out there, but it will still challenge your eyes with the play-action pass," Akina said. "So it is a different task. Certainly their staff has got an impressive resume when it comes to moving the football. So I think every game is exciting, but this game, when you are done watching the film it was not quite like the last four weeks offensively where they were all number one or two in the offense. I think Ole Miss was even in the top seven or eight when we lined up on them. It has been a lot of fun."

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