Greg Robinson

Last year, Texas gave up 550 rushing yards to BYU, but senior defensive tackle Desmond Jackson and a revamped defense are ready to avenge that loss.

Photo Credit: Amy Zhang | Daily Texan Staff

If the Texas defensive linemen could erase one memory from their college football experiences, it would be their time in the locker room in Provo, Utah, last fall.  

“It was terrible and bewildering,” senior linebacker Jordan Hicks said. “We went into the game feeling ready, and it got handed to us.”

Last season, in embarrassing fashion, the Longhorns lost to an unranked BYU team as then-sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill trampled them for 259 yards and three touchdowns, gathering a program-record 550 rushing yards. 

“That’s the most embarrassed I’ve ever been in my life,” senior cornerback Quandre Diggs said. “[The film] was embarrassing then, and it’s embarrassing now. But it’s a new year, day, team and coaches.”

Much has changed since the Longhorns faced BYU. After then-head coach Mack Brown thought the defensive line needed new guidance, he replaced defensive coordinator Manny Diaz with Greg Robinson, who won the 2005 Rose Bowl with Texas. Vance Bedford has sinced replaced Robinson as defensive coordinator.

“He came in and tried to simplify things, with the terminology and the schemes,” Hicks said. “Now, we need to make sure that every player understands the game plan, is on the same page and is working toward the same goals to execute his job.”

Hicks believes creating that solid game plan is the key to reversing Texas’ luck against BYU. He said Texas’ downfall in the 2013 matchup was missed assignments that caused the team lost leverage. Now, the team stresses the need for accountability and gap integrity on the field, which it achieved in last week’s 38-7 victory against North Texas. 

After allowing just 94 yards of total offense against the Mean Green last Saturday and picking four balls, Texas experienced something that it never even considered in Provo — it had fun. 

“We don’t care what other people do or what the media says — we’re just going to do what we do and go out and have fun,” Diggs said. “You could see last week we had fun, getting the sideline going and the crowd going. It’s a big week for us, and we want people in the stands to get the game sold out.”

Although Diggs said the stadium energy factored into the enjoyment of last week’s game, the team’s desire to have fun dates back to weeks earlier. Strong and Bedford emphasize enjoying the game throughout practices and camps, introducing inter-team competitions and prizes to up players’ motivation. The defensive teams compete for the weekly “takeaway belt,” a bragging right the linebackers won first, but every squad has won at least once now. 

“If you emphasize stuff in practice and camp, it’ll carry over to the games,” Hicks said. “The habits become reality.”

Coming into the locker room Saturday, the Longhorns won’t dwell on the Provo postgame experience from last year. They’re ready to put the loss behind them and show fans the new defensive prowess. If the nerves start up, or memories of last year’s locker room scene do begin to surface, the players just need to look at the walls of their home locker room. A series of signs were posted up on the walls before the season opener, all reading the same word — “FUN.”

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

When Mack Brown announced his resignation on Dec. 14th it was clear there would be massive changes in 2014 for the entire coaching staff. New head coach Charlie Strong only retained Bruce Chambers for his first staff at Texas, meaning everyone else was forced to find somewhere else to coach or something else to do.

Mack Brown

Since leaving the Longhorn program, Brown has stayed in the public eye via Twitter. Brown live-tweeted the BCS Title game, as well as the Broncos-Patriots AFC Title game. He recently used the platform to state that he is not interested in coaching in the NFL and looks forward to attending tailgates with Texas fans this fall.

Greg Robinson

Robinson is a finalist for the California defensive coordinator job, after he successfully revived his coaching career following Texas’ defensive turn-around in 2013. If Robinson is unable to land the job, it is unknown what and where he will be coaching in the future, and his prospects may be pretty limited despite a successful 2013 campaign.

Major Applewhite

Rumors circulated that Applewhite would rejoin Will Muschamp at the University of Florida, but that door closed before the Alamo Bowl was played. On Jan. 2, it was reported by SBNation that Applewhite had accepted a one-year severance package, but details of his future are uncertain at this point.

Manny Diaz

After being demoted following an embarrassing showing in Provo, Utah, Diaz fell off the coaching radar. So it came as a bit of a surprise when it was announced Tuesday that his next coaching job will be defensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech.

Duane Akina

Reports on Cal’s SBNation site indicate that Akina could be bringing the “Defensive Back U” to UC-Berkley. If Akina is hired at Berkeley as defensive backs coach, it seems logical that Robinson would make the move as well.

Bo Davis

On Jan. 7, Davis was named USC’s defensive line coach, after Strong decided to combine the line position. That stint lasted one week before he bolted to
Tuscaloosa after Texas hired Chris Rumph from Alabama. The two switched places, reuniting Davis with Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide for the foreseeable future.

Darrell Wyatt

After not being retained by Texas, Wyatt’s name has come up in numerous offensive coordinator searches and he is a finalist for the head coach position at Sam Houston State.

Stacy Searels

On Jan. 5, it seemed Searels was the front-runner for Florida’s offensive line job. But, just a day later, the Gators went in a different direction. With that opportunity gone, Searels is now a candidate to coach Virginia Tech’s offensive line.

Larry Porter

Since losing his job, there is not much known about Porter’s next coaching destination.

Oscar Giles

The hiring of Rumph resulted in Giles being let go. Not many details have emerged about where he will coach next.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Redshirt junior Bryce Petty didn’t have the easiest shoes to fill. He watched Robert Griffin III walk across the Heisman stage. Then he watched as Nick Florence broke Griffin’s single-season Baylor record for passing yards.

“Those guys have put a lot of standards up there that are going to be tough to beat,” head coach Art Briles said on Petty following Griffin and Florence before the season. “But Petty has been around everything. He understands he’s got the physical presence and ability to do it. What we gotta do is just let him get in situations and let him create his own identity.”

Coming into the season under-the-radar, he didn’t feel much pressure. It was the sophomore running back—Lache Seastrunk—who everyone thought of as a Heisman Trophy candidate. He averaged nearly eight yards per carry the year before and looked poised to carry the Bears offense.

Despite Seastrunk’s solid season, it is actually Petty who has carried Baylor and thrown his name into the Heisman discussion.

“I think he’s been phenomenal and the thing that impresses me is, first of all, his leadership because you never really know about someone until you go through the fire with them — go through some kind of adversity with them,” Briles said. “Fortunately, we haven’t had a lot of adversity but when we have, he’s been really strong and really solid.”

Petty is currently eighth in the country in passing yards, leading the highest scoring offense in the nation. All he can do now is reflect on his past years on the bench and marvel in the current year leading a Top 10 team.

“I think God has a very funny way of writing out and planning our story
better than we could,” Petty said. “If I had it my own way I would’ve been playing since I was a freshman and all that stuff. But to have the team that we have now, I couldn’t have wrote it better myself.”

Texas realizes what they are up against — a Baylor team that isn’t the highest scoring team in the nation for no reason. When watching film, Texas’ defensive coordinator Greg Robinson can only admire the offense he prepares to solve.

“I take pictures on my screen so I can print them just so I can save some of these,” Robinson said. “I want to show them to my grandkids so I can say, ‘This is how you use a field,’”

Everything begins with Petty.

“He’s a good quarterback,” Robinson said. “He has good weapons around him. He knows how to get the ball to those guys.”

But what scares the Texas defense is his ability to make plays on the ground. He has twice as many rushing touchdowns as Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf, who torched the Longhorns on the ground with 95 yards and two touchdowns.

“I hope he’s not as good,” Robinson said. “Quite frankly, I think we helped Chelf a little bit. I’m not taking anything away from him, I think he did a nice job, but this guy has run for yardage just like Chelf has and a couple others too.”

With all the success he has had so far, Petty knows more lies ahead, and is excited for the final game of this season with possible BCS
implications.

“There are a lot of memories, a lot of high points with this season and the best part is it’s not over,” Petty said. “We got two more games. One more game that will sum up everything and I am very blessed, very humbled to be a part of it.”

And Petty isn’t leaving Waco anytime soon. The NFL will have to wait.

“I definitely will be back next year,” he said.

Oklahoma State's Clint Chelf brought Texas fans flashbacks to its early season loss to BYU when Taysom Hill ran all over the Longhorns. Texas' defense has improved significantly since then but continues to struggle to stop the quaterback option.

Photo Credit: Sam Ortega | Daily Texan Staff

If there was one thing Texas wanted to forget about this season, it was its defensive woes against BYU and its quarterback Taysom Hill.

The Longhorns gave up 550 rushing yards against the Cougars with 259 of those coming from the sophomore quarterback. On Saturday afternoon, Texas had flashbacks to that woeful game, as Oklahoma State’s quarterback, Clint Chelf, took off against the Longhorns in another contest Texas would like to forget about.

“It was unacceptable, unacceptable,” defensive coordinator Greg Robinson said. “It shouldn’t have happened.”

Chelf tallied 95 yards on the ground against the shattered Texas defense. The senior grabbed two rushing touchdowns while adding 197 yards passing and two touchdowns through the air. Chelf accounted for all but three of the Cowboys’ points.

“Clint managed the game really well and continues to be a nifty runner for us,” Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said. “We didn’t need to use him as a runner as much in the second half, so we didn’t. He plays pretty good from start to finish. I’m proud of him — the way he’s developing and leading our team on offense — and he stepped up to lead our offense at this time.”

Texas allowed multiple gaps to open up in the middle of the field, which allowed running room for Chelf. Robinson explained that his linebackers are responsible for making the call to close up gaps, but those calls were never made.

“We did a very poor job inside with gap control on the quarterback draw a couple times early that just killed us, and then they scored a run for about 20 yards with the same thing,” head coach Mack Brown said. “We did a better job with that after, but then they hurt us more on the option. It seemed like every time we get something going, we killed ourselves.”

The Longhorns were unable to apply pressure on Chelf, and with the open gaps, let him go untouched into the Texas backfield.

“They were blocking with most of their guys,” senior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat said. “They’d bring the fullback in the back and block with him or they’d get it out pretty quick … When they got up, they didn’t throw the ball much.”

Texas played lights-out defense for the past few weeks while they recorded six consecutive wins. But on Saturday, the team regressed back to last season’s defense, which was statistically the worst in school history.

“It’s something you just can’t explain,” senior cornerback Carrington Byndom said. “Sometimes, you don’t know why things go the way that they do. As a defense, we have to make sure that we come out and start fast and we just didn’t. We just need to do better.”

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

When the Longhorns’ defense scuffled in games against BYU and Ole Miss to start the season, the linebackers were at the forefront of the issue.

The same problems of missed tackles and failed assignments that plagued the unit last year seemed to reappear, and things got even worse when junior linebacker Jordan Hicks, the team’s leading tackler, went down for the season with a ruptured Achilles in just the fourth game of the season.

As the season progressed, though, these struggles became nothing more than a distant memory for the Texas linebackers, and head coach Mack Brown believes the hiring of defensive coordinate Greg Robinson after Week 2 made all the difference.

“Greg is very simplistic, fundamentally sound,” Brown said. “He starts with stats every day and works very hard on angles. It’s tackling, pursuit angles and effort [with him], and he wants to free their mind to do that.”

The biggest strides made by the Texas linebackers under Robinson came in stopping the run. After surrendering 550 rushing yards against BYU and 272 against Ole Miss, the Longhorns improved to second in the Big 12 in allowing just 123.3 rushing yards per game through their first six conference contests.

The linebackers garnered much of the credit for this defensive turnaround, as their simplified approach under Robinson allowed them to fix their early-season issues and get the most out of their talent. Senior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat said the linebackers became fed up with the criticism surrounding them at the beginning of the year, and he believes they continue to use this as motivation.

“They were tired of hearing things about how they weren’t doing very well,” Jeffcoat said. “There were little things that had to get corrected, and they got it right. They’re playing their butts off, flying around, making plays all over the field. They just wanted to show what they could do.”

Junior linebacker Steve Edmond has been in the middle of the defensive turnaround, leading Texas with 63 tackles and seven passes defended while sharing the team-lead with two interceptions. Edmond emerged as the leader of the unit once Hicks went down, and he credits the chemistry between the linebackers for their recent production.

“It’s our pride that we put into our practice,” Edmond said. “It’s like a brotherhood we’ve got going on. We’re just always pulling for each other.”

In addition to Edmond, sophomore linebacker Dalton Santos continues to make significant contributions. Santos joined the starting lineup following the injury to Hicks, and he stands fifth on the team with 46 tackles and fourth with six tackles for a loss.

While Hicks remains unable to assist the Longhorns on the field, his impact continues to be felt. Brown said Hicks was receptive to Texas’ midseason change at defensive coordinator, and he believes the junior linebacker played a major role in getting his teammates to buy into Robinson’s scheme.

“Jordan Hicks really helped the linebackers give Greg a chance,” Brown said. “I had a good visit with Jordan and I said, ‘This guy’s got a great resume, what happened is tough, but you get the guys to buy in here,’ and he did. He’s been as instrumental in helping Greg move forward with the linebackers as anybody.”

Robinson succeeded in quickly turning around the Texas’ defense, and the improved play of the linebacker unit remains a significant reason for that. Should the linebackers maintain their high level of production, they can continue to put their slow start to the season further towards the back of their minds.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Since Greg Robinson took over as defensive coordinator after a Week 2 loss to BYU, the Longhorns’ newfound ability to slow opposing running games has received much of the credit for Texas’ improvements on defense. 

Just as important in this turnaround, though, has been the improved play of the Longhorns’ defensive line, and Robinson has taken notice.

“It really does start up front,” Robinson. “I just think our D-line just keeps getting better. I’m really impressed by them and we have depth at that position.”

The Longhorns enjoyed considerable success in rushing the passer to start conference play, racking up 16 sacks and 26 quarterback hurries in their first four Big 12 matchups. Senior defensive tackle Chris Whaley believes the Longhorns continue to improve each week, and he expects the defensive front to get even better as the season progresses.

“We’ve been putting some pretty good things up at the front,” Whaley said. “We’ve been getting better every week. That’s what we’ve got to continue to do. That’s the plan, for us to continue to get better and be dominant every week.”

At the forefront of this has been senior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, who leads the team with six sacks, all of which have come against conference opponents. Jeffcoat also leads Texas with 11 quarterback hurries and 9.5 tackles for a loss.

Junior defensive end Cedric Reed also enjoyed a strong start to the year in his first season as a starter, leading the team with 46 tackles while accumulating three sacks and 6.5 tackles for a loss. Reed said the Longhorns defensive linemen maintain a strong chemistry with each other, and he credits Jeffcoat and Whaley for their senior leadership.

“We just came together as a unit,” Reed said. “Right before each game we tell ourselves we have to play like this is our last game. Chris leads us, and Jackson helps us out, and they give us inspirational speeches and they just get us going.”

In addition to the stellar play of their defensive ends, the Longhorns’ interior linemen continue to play a major role in the defensive turnaround. Whaley boasts two sacks, five tackles for a loss and an interception return for a touchdown thus far, while sophomore defensive tackle Malcom Brown recorded 6.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks in the first seven starts of his career this season.

While the Longhorns’ ability to bring down quarterbacks and ball carriers in the backfield provides negative plays for opposing offenses, the defensive line’s impact is also greatly felt by members of the Texas secondary.

 “They help us a lot,” senior safety Adrian Phillips said. “We don’t have to cover as long, and if a quarterback does get a pass off it might not be as accurate. We need our d-line to keep playing the way they’re playing. When they have chances to make plays, they make them.”

The Longhorns defensive linemen are hoping to continue making big plays each week, as every quarterback hurry, tackle in the backfield and sack makes the defense even more potent.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

The way the game was played, it was hard to believe each team had a blue-chip prospect starting at quarterback.

Garrett Gilbert, the nation’s third-best quarterback prospect coming out of high school in 2009, according to rivals.com, left the game in the second quarter with Texas trailing, 13-0. He would never play another down in a Longhorns uniform.

BYU’s Jake Heaps, rivals.com’s top quarterback prospect in the Class of 2010, was held to 192 yards on 22-for-38 passing with one touchdown pass and two interceptions in the 17-16 loss to the Longhorns two years ago. It was defensive coordinator Manny Diaz’s second game on the job and it was a good one.

Heaps won’t have it as easy when he returns to Austin and faces a new-and-improved Greg Robinson-led Longhorns defense this weekend.

Neither Gilbert nor Heaps is with the team they began their college football careers with – Gilbert is now with SMU while Heaps, heavily recruited by former Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis, is now playing for Weis at Kansas.

“Quarterbacks usually don’t stay long unless they’re playing,” Texas head coach Mack Brown said. “No one wants to be the backup quarterback, especially if you’re one of the top players in the country coming in.”

Heaps, after sitting out the 2012 season, is getting his second chance as a starter with the Jayhawks, losers of 25 consecutive games against Big 12 opponents. Kansas has lost its four contests in conference play this year by an average of 27 points, with Heaps going 41-for-90 (45.6 percent) for 442 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions in those games.

He was held to 16 yards on 5-for-13 passing in a 34-19 loss to Oklahoma two weeks ago and completed only seven of 19 passes for 85 yards in a 59-14 defeat to Big 12 frontrunner Baylor last weekend.

The way Diaz’s replacement, Greg Robinson, has the Longhorns defense playing, Heaps is going to have another rough outing when Texas hosts Kansas in its first home game in six weeks this Saturday.

The Longhorns have held Big 12 foes to 19.5 points per game, the fewest in the conference, and limited TCU to seven points – its fewest in a game in more than seven years.

“What Greg did is he settled the defense down,” Weis said. “They already have a formidable front four to start off with and now they just line up and play. They don’t try trickery or anything like that. They just try to be athletes, rather than trying to move them all over the place. The past several weeks, they’re seldom out of position.”

Jackson Jeffcoat and Cedric Reed have evolved into one of the country’s best 1-2 pass rush punches while the Texas secondary is suddenly swarming to the ball and a linebackers group without its leader in Jordan Hicks is doing its part as well.

“He was around and watched us but we didn’t really build a relationship with him until now,” Jeffcoat said of Robinson. “So it took a couple weeks and now it feels like he’s been here for a while. Things are starting to click.”

Gilbert passed for 538 yards and four touchdowns while running for 97 more yards and two other scores in a 59-49 victory over Rutgers last week – good enough to earn him Walter Camp national player of the week honors and give him the FBS lead in total yards per game at 408.3, nearly 20 more than the next closest player.

Heaps, meanwhile, is struggling. And his struggles won’t stop when he faces the stiff ball-swarming Greg Robinson-led Longhorns defense this Saturday.

Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

In high school, Adrian Phillips was an offensive powerhouse.

He recorded 949 passing yards and five touchdowns as a quarterback while tallying 72 catches for 1,307 yards and 14 touchdowns as a wide receiver. Now, he’s playing that quarterback role on the other side of the ball as one Texas’ leading defensive backs.

“He’s a quarterback,” head coach Mack Brown said. “He’s a really smart guy. He was a quarterback in high school. He knows what the offense is doing and can move people around. That’s why he’s so vital.”

Texas has been known to recruit offensive stars as defensive backs in the past. The Longhorns tried to recruit Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel, both Heisman Trophy winners, as defensive players before they signed to their respective schools. This time it worked out with Phillips.

Phillips has become a prominent player in the Texas backfield. In his sophomore season, he recorded 43 tackles compared with just nine his freshman year. Phillips suffered a shoulder injury in his second year and underwent surgery that slightly halted his junior campaign until he was fully able to recover.

“The biggest difference between this year and last for Adrian is that he’s healthy,” Brown said.

This season, Phillips has recorded 39 tackles, already more than half of the 72 he tallied last year. He leads the team with 27 solo tackles and is one of only two defensive backs to record an interception so far this season.

Phillips has also been a quintessential role model in the adjustment defensive coordinator Greg Robinson has gone through since he took over the defensive play-caller duties from Manny Diaz.

“We needed guys to, one, buy into Greg and sell the other players that he is going to help us win,” Brown said. “Adrian was a big part of that. Him and Jordan Hicks said, ‘This guy knows what he’s doing. Let’s keep our mouths shut and get to it.’”

In that transition, which happened following an embarrassing loss to BYU early in September, Phillips hasn’t seen his role change. Despite the different schemes that Robinson has drawn up, he feels his responsibilities are still the same.

“[My role] hasn’t really changed,” Phillips said. “I still do what I do. Wherever they need me I’m there. I still have the same responsibilities that I did in coach Diaz’s defense. Of course coach Robinson’s defense is a different scheme but at the end of the stay it’s all
the same.”

Robinson has also taken a liking to Phillips, citing his work ethic and consistent play as some of his key features. So far this season, the safety has had two nine tackle games and is just three tackles away from the leading tackler on the team.

“Adrian Phillips is an outstanding football player,” Robinson said. “Coaches sometimes get seduced by physical skills, but you have got to learn how to quantify the intangible characteristics. That kid is physically gifted but the intangible characteristics that he brings to our defense is hard to quantify.”

Photo Credit: Charlie Pearce | Daily Texan Staff

Following the dismissal of Manny Diaz as defensive coordinator, Texas’ team and fans were in desperate need of a change. So naturally, when head coach Mack Brown named Greg Robinson the new defensive coordinator following the Longhorns’ blowout loss to Brigham Young University, people rejoiced more about Diaz’s departure than the arrival of the new face to the Texas defense. 

But following Texas’ most dominant defensive performance against Oklahoma in recent memory, it’s clear that Robinson isn’t just a stopgap until the end of the year — he made this defense believe.

His impact is most evident in the areas where Texas was weakest: putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, causing turnovers and most importantly, rush defense. 

Under Diaz, Texas’ front four struggled to generate consistent pressure, combining for a single sack in the team’s first two games. But in the four games following Robinson’s promotion, the group totaled 10 sacks, two fumble recoveries, two interceptions and one touchdown. Senior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat has been especially dominant in that stretch, racking up five sacks and a game-sealing interception against Iowa State. 

Thanks to a rejuvenated pass rush, the Longhorns have been more active in the turnover category as well, forcing eight in the last four games — most memorable being senior defensive tackle Chris Whaley’s pick-six against Oklahoma on Saturday. It is plays like Whaley’s, which gave Texas a 10-3 lead it never relinquished, that can reverse the flow of an entire season. 

But the most drastic change came with Texas’ run defense. It was only five weeks ago when BYU rushed for a school-record 550 yards against Texas, resulting in Diaz’s dismissal. 

With Robinson at the helm, things have changed drastically. Since a 44-23 loss to Ole Miss in which the Longhorns surrendered 272 yards on the ground — Robinson’s first game in his new role — this defense has stepped up, surrendering 446 rushing yards the past three games. Saturday’s performance against Oklahoma was especially impressive, as Texas held Oklahoma to 130 yards on the ground, well below the 246 yards per game it averaged entering the game. 

The defense is totally different than the one that was on the field a month ago, and a big part of that is Robinson. The results reflect an alteration in coaching and schematic approach but more so, they show a change in the team’s mental makeup. The Longhorn defense no longer appears timid or uninspired. Led by Robinson, this team is playing motivated defense. 

Photo Credit: Charlie Pearce | Daily Texan Staff

Defensive coordinator Greg Robinson has stood on the field of the Cotton Bowl once before. It was 2004 and three months before he helped lead Texas to a Rose Bowl Championship.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever had more fun at a game,” Robinson said. “I hated it that we lost, but man it was just a great experience. But it was a great game and it was so unique. You know I’ve been to the Cotton Bowl before coaching, but it was nothing like what that was like.”

Robinson, just one month after taking over the defensive play caller duties from Manny Diaz, has a much larger task on his hands. He not only faces the pressure of playing against Oklahoma but the pressure of getting a defense back on track that has given up an average of 28.4 points per game this season.

Robinson took over a defense that was, statistically, the worst defense in school history in 2012. Since his arrival back in Austin, he has led a team that has given up an average of 401 total yards of offense per game, 168 of which come on the ground — a slight improvement to the performance Diaz had in the first two games of the season.

The veteran coach, who has tallied two Super Bowl championships, is stepping up to the pressure and looks at it more as an opportunity instead of a hindrance.

“It’s Oklahoma week,” Robinson said. “I would have to think that every year that this is the game that you want to play. This is what it’s all about, and the pressure of wanting to win and beat them is exciting. It’s an opportunity for all of us. I think that’s how you look at it. So that’s the challenge and I think we are all pretty excited about accepting that.”

Robinson has seen improvement since he’s taken over as defensive coordinator. One of the new strong points he’s discovered is communication among his players, who agree the defense is becoming more vocal.

“In the defense, you have the linebackers calling the plays but now once the linebackers make the plays, we have all the safeties and all the D-line talk to each other to know that everyone is on the same page and so everyone can play as one defense,” senior defensive lineman Chris Whaley said.

Robinson took time to adjust to his new team before he was able to make these improvements. But after a month in the play caller spot, he’s started to click with his team.

“After that first week everybody kept working and coaches were helping them out a lot,” Whaley said. “So we’re used to him pretty much. Its like we’ve known him for a long time now. We come out for practice and it’s nothing different.”

Having now found a niche in his role as defensive coordinator, Robinson wants to get the Golden Hat back to Texas.  

“I think it is an opportunity for us,” Robinson said. “Really, I think doggone it, you know we want to get it back on our side. So I’d like to think that is the mindset of everyone that is involved with it. We all feel like we have a responsibility to our Texas fans.”