Can Texas Football contend for the College Football Playoff?

Syndication: Austin American-Statesman.
Syndication: Austin American-Statesman. /
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Can Texas Football defense continue to improve?

While the defense does not have the star power the offense has, this is a solid, veteran group that was one of the better units in the Big 12. Texas finished second in the conference in scoring defense and rush defense. They were fourth in pass defense and fifth in sacks. Most interestingly, the Longhorns were second in red zone defense.

Texas played a lot of “red zone roulette” last year. They were eighth in third-down conversions and seventh in fourth-down conversions. Teams could move the ball on the Longhorns but struggled to score touchdowns.

Longhorns’ defensive coordinators Pete Kwiatkowski and Jeff Choate know they need to get offenses off the field on third downs to increase their margin for error. That starts with the front seven. Texas led the country in quarterback pressures but finished 78th in sacks. Quarterbacks had time to throw and complete passes on third downs last year.

There might not be any first-round picks on the defense, but they have some solid veteran players. Jaylan Ford is going to be on a lot of Butkus Award watch lists. Jahdae Barrion and Jerrin Thompson lead a secondary that should be the defense’s strength.