Defense focuses on fundamentals before Iowa State

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Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford addressed the media Wednesday to discuss Texas' matchup in Iowa on Saturday. Here are some takeaways from Bedford's address.

Texas looks to improve defensively on road

Bedford said Wednesday the Longhorns need to play better defense to improve their chances on the road.

“We can’t give up big plays on defense,” Bedford said. “You go back to Notre Dame and TCU, and it’s big play after big play. Against Notre Dame, we gave up third down and long seven times. We need to be effective on third down and get off of the football field.”

Texas surrendered an average of 44 points per game in its two away games – both losses – this season. The Longhorns gave up 30 points in the first quarter alone at No. 5 TCU. Now, Bedford is focusing on the fundamentals before facing Iowa State on the road.

“We need to tackle better,” Bedford said. “When we do have coverage, we have to make a play on the football. We have to be aggressive. … When they throw the football we need to be in position and go and make a play.”

Defense benefitting from improved offense

Texas’ offense is finding an identity in running the football with over 270 rushing yards in each of its last two games. The running-game’s renaissance has translated to more first downs, more points and more wins. Bedford says the improved offense is also injecting some life into the Longhorns’ defense.

“What [rushing success] means is that their offense is on the sideline and we’re eating up clock,” Bedford said.  “Now, we’re a lot fresher on defense.”

Time of possession is proving key for the Longhorns’ defense. Texas kept the ball longer than its opponents in each of its last two games, and picked up two wins. The defense also had its two best performances in those games holding No. 14 Oklahoma and Kansas State to 17 and 9 points respectively.

“My father – and some of other coaches I’ve been around – said the best way to win a game is to keep the defense on the sideline,” Bedford said.