Bedford, defense hope to build on fourth quarter success

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Two Texas defenders attempt to tackle an Oklahoma State player in the Longhorns matchup against the Cowboys on Saturday. The team lost the game 30-27.
Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

To rebound from a 1-3 season start, the Longhorn defense must improve.

Texas’ opponents have averaged about six yards per play, moving the ball with ease. The Longhorns also struggle to get off the field on crucial downs. They give up 56 percent of their opponents’ third-down attempts and 100 percent of their opponents’ fourth downs, which ranks last in the Big 12.

“You’re going to play the best of the best offensively [in the Big 12,]” defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said Wednesday at a press conference. “They’re going to spread you out, … and you should come to the University of Texas to play better defense. We’re not playing good defense right now.”

The Longhorns’ defensive struggles are difficult to ignore. Yet, the unit tends to show new life in the fourth quarter. Over its last two games, Texas held its opponents to 1.6 yards per play and just 25 percent on third-down attempts in the fourth quarter. Bedford said he doesn’t know why the Longhorns wait until the fourth quarter to execute, but he knows they need to play better from start to finish.

“I told the guys that we cannot start any ball game out in the first quarter giving two drives for 14 points … that’s the game right there,” Bedford said. “It comes back to being fundamentally sound.”

Texas’ fundamentals will be tested on Saturday as the Longhorns head to Fort Worth to take on No. 4 TCU’s top-5 ranked offense. If the Longhorns’ defense shows up early, it will go a long way toward reeling in the upset.

“We have to go out and play good defense from the opening kickoff to the fourth quarter — that’s what it’s all about,” Bedford said.